By Liz Shepherd
PIERCETON — Darby Ellis Perry, one of the defendants in a Pierceton Woods Academy sexual assault civil suit, has filed a demand for a jury trial, denying all allegations of inappropriate conduct and sexual assault.
Ellis Perry, a female employee at the private residential home for troubled boys, is accused of grooming a juvenile at Pierceton Woods during the second half of 2019. Court documents state Ellis Perry engaged in several inappropriate acts with the juvenile and other residents, including falsifying drug tests, encouraging “dirty talk” and drug usage, as well as kissing and sexual conduct. The juvenile, who is the plaintiff in this case, was coerced to engage in several of these activities against his will.
The suit also alleges Ellis Perry was the subject of a criminal investigation involving sexual assault against a resident and that academy staff were aware of accusations prior to 2017 and did not take action.
The civil suit against Pierceton Woods Academy and several of its staff was filed in late October by Kevin Joseph, the father of the juvenile who was groomed by Ellis Perry.
Ellis Perry is being represented in this case by Trenton Gill and Huston Hum, both of Reminger Attorneys at Law in Indianapolis.
In her answer to the civil suit, Ellis Perry admits that she was employed by Pierceton Woods Academy but denies engaging in any inappropriate conduct or sexually assaulting any Pierceton Woods residents. Documents also state that Ellis Perry denies being the suspect of a previous investigation involving sexual assault at Pierceton Woods.
Ellis Perry did admit that she and Brian Perry, a defendant in the case, were in an intimate relationship since at least 2017; however, Ellis Perry’s answer states that she doesn’t have sufficient information to either admit or deny that Brian had prior knowledge of inappropriate sexual misconduct occurring. Ellis Perry also denies that all of the defendants acted together as co-conspirators to cover up inappropriate activity.
Ellis Perry’s answer denies that she committed battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress to the plaintiff.
Additional defendants in this case include Lasting Change Inc. and Lifeline Youth and Family Services, both doing business as Pierceton Woods Academy; Joseph Gough, vice-president of residential services for Lasting Change/Lifeline; and Mark Terrell, CEO of Lasting Change/Lifeline.
An order granting the aforementioned defendants additional time to answer the plaintiff’s complaint was filed on Nov. 12. As of Dec. 14, Ellis Perry is the only defendant to file an answer to the complaint.