Unfortunately, stories like the one that came out of Clermont last week about a facility called the Green Isle Children’s Ranch are becoming too frequent. From looking at its website, it appears that the Green Isle Children’s Ranch holds itself out as a place where broken, at-risk children can go to find safety and comfort in a Christian-based environment. Apparently, in November 2009, at least five teenaged residents came forward reporting that they had been sexually abused by another teenaged resident.
It goes without saying that any allegations of sexual abuse are extremely serious. Isolated incidents are one thing, but these allegations involve six teenagers. A press release issued by the Green Isle Ranch after local television news honed in on this story insists that the residents of the facility receive outstanding counseling, care, and attention. Further, Green Isle Ranch insists that the children are under direct adult supervision day and night.
Although we admittedly don’t yet know the whole story, it is difficult to imagine that sexual acts involving six children could happen if the children were under direct supervision day and night. To the contrary, in our experience handling dozens of claims involving negligent supervision, it is usually a distinct lack of supervision that leads to sexual abuse. In our experience, facilities often lose sight of the fact that the children they are charged with caring for many times have deep-seeded emotional and psychological problems that make it very likely that their behavior will be inappropriate, and often in the form of sexually acting out. We certainly wish facilities charged with caring for troubled teens would fulfill their promises.