GREENWOOD, S.C. (WCBD) – A lawsuit filed in federal court alleges that in March of 2016 a seventeen-year-old special needs foster child was sexually assaulted by a South Carolina Youth Advocacy Program driver. According to the complaint, the boy was being transported alone by the driver from a visit to Greenwood back to the Columbia area foster home where he was living at the time.
Instead of taking the boy straight back to his foster home, the driver took the boy to the driver’s own home. There, there driver sexually assaulted the boy.
When the boy finally arrived home with his foster mother, he reported the sexual assault to her and she took him to the hospital. He was so distraught about the assault that the mental distress caused him to consider suicide. According to the complaint, when law enforcement questioned the driver regarding the allegations the boy had made, the driver admitted to having oral sex with the boy, but stated that it was consensual. The complaint asserts that the special needs boy cannot and did not consent to sexual activity with the driver.
The complaint goes to allege that SCDSS failed to adequately treat the child for the sexual assault and did not provide him with sufficient counseling services. The compliant contends that the boy continues to suffer greatly as a result of the “shocking failures in supervision, treatment, and investigation by SCYAP, SCDSS and their employees.” The complaint asserts that the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees the right of all children in foster care to a safe and secure placement, including a fundamental right of bodily integrity. The suit names the boy’s DSS caseworker, SCYAP, and two of its employees as Defendants.
Heather Hite Stone, the attorney who represents the boy, said “Special needs foster children are perhaps the most vulnerable population in our society, and it is shocking and horrific when individuals and agencies who are charged with protecting our most vulnerable citizens violate this sacred trust.”