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Lawsuit alleging abuse, neglect of teen filed against Zelienople group home

ZELIENOPLE, Pa. — A family is suing Glade Run Lutheran Services, a group home in Zelienople, claiming that a 13-year-old boy was abused and neglected at the facility.

Attorneys for the boy and his family spoke Wednesday with Channel 11 News after filing the civil lawsuit.

“The thing that gets this little boy excited is the thought that Glade Run will no longer exist,” Nick Indovina of the Pisanchyn law firm said.%

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Channel 11 News has covered the residential treatment facility, which cares for children and teenagers with severe mental health issues, for months.

State inspectors found evidence last October of children having sex with other children on campus. As a result, the state Department of Human Services stripped the 56-bed facility of its license, which Glade Run is attempting to get back through an appeals process with the state. The campus has three additional facilities that have remained open pending the appeal decision.

No criminal charges were ever filed, but the state mandated changes, including firing the staff, hiring new employees and adding security cameras.

Indovina said the changes are not enough.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday details allegations too graphic for Channel 11 News to report about what the boy, now 15, endured from March to July 2015 while he was being treated at the group home for severe mental health issues.

The suit alleges that the staff failed to keep him safe from other children.

While Glade Run had yet to see the lawsuit, officials issued the following statement to Channel 11 News:

“Glade Run Lutheran Services serves our communities' most challenging and traumatized youth, providing residential, school-based and community-based offerings to thousands throughout Western Pennsylvania each year. Many have complex mental health issues and behaviors that necessitate residential treatment for stabilization and healing. The safety of our clients remains our first priority, and we are committed to providing the safest environment for their treatment and recovery.
 
“The provision of human services to individuals with mental health issues is not without risks. These risks include physical harm to staff and potential litigation. The privacy rights of our clients preclude us from discussing any allegation that may arise. Glade Run has a longstanding track record of more than 160 years of successful care and treatment of traumatized youth, and is dedicated to protecting the best interests of those we serve.”

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