By Liz Shepherd
PIERCETON — The plaintiffs in a Pierceton Woods Academy sexual assault civil suit have requested that a motion from several defendants to dismiss the complaints against them be denied.
Kevin Joseph, the father of a juvenile who was allegedly assaulted on the campus, filed the suit against Pierceton Woods in October 2020, alleging the organization was aware of staff engaging in inappropriate contact with minors and that a juvenile was sexually assaulted by an employee.
The suit is against Lasting Change Inc. and Lifeline Youth and Family Services, both doing business as Pierceton Woods Academy, as well as four employees.
Brian Perry, an employee who was formerly in a relationship with another employee who allegedly sexually assaulted the youth; Joseph Gaugh, vice-president of residential services for Lasting Change/Lifeline Inc.; and Mark Terrell, the CEO of Lasting Change and/or Lifeline Inc., filed a joint motion on Dec. 17, 2020, to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint.
The response document to the joint motion was filed by the plaintiff’s attorney, Travis McConnell, on Jan. 5; the document states that Perry, Gough and Terrell made intentional decisions or engaged in conduct to deliberately minimize and cover up allegations of repeated sexual assault at Pierceton Woods. It argues that Gough and Terrell both continued to employ Darby Ellis Perry, the employee who allegedly sexually assaulted the youth, and decided to not discipline her or otherwise correct her behavior.
The response also states that discovery has not yet commenced in the case and that may lead to additional facts that further support conspiracy claims made against the defendants. The response states there are a half dozen witness depositions scheduled to occur on Feb. 3.
McConnell requests in the response that if the court grants the motion to dismiss that the plaintiffs want the opportunity to amend their complaint in accordance with Trial Rule 12(B).
A telephonic attorney conference on the pending motion to dismiss will take place at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14.