Lawsuit against RENEW moves to mediation

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SHERIDAN — A Wednesday hearing in 4th Judicial District Court addressed several motions filed in a civil lawsuit against Rehabilitation Enterprises of North Eastern Wyoming in Sheridan. 

Parents and legal guardians of a former RENEW client filed against the rehabilitation center in 2014. The parents became aware that their adult son, who has Down syndrome and lived in RENEW housing since 2001, had been repeatedly sexually molested from August 2012 to March 2013 by another RENEW client sharing a bathroom with the victim. The bathroom was only accessible through the victim’s bedroom.

Court documents filed by the plaintiff said complaints were made by the victim’s counselor to RENEW, with threats of notifying the state of Wyoming if RENEW did not take action to remove the sex offender, but the abuse did not end.

The counselor reported the issue to the Department of Family Services and RENEW then moved the victim to a different house without the consent of his legal guardians. Court documents also say RENEW concealed facts and lied about circumstances related to the plaintiff’s son being moved to another group home. In addition, court documents said the perpetrator was known to be prone to sexual abuse of others.

Judge John Fenn of 4th Judicial District Court went through the laundry list of motions set forth by both parties during Wednesday’s hearing.

The plaintiff filed a motion to compel, asking RENEW to provide full copies of the perpetrator’s complete file to both parties. Fenn ordered a complete copy of the perpetrator’s records to be released to both parties within three weeks and for RENEW to give notice to the perpetrator’s guardians of the order.

Fenn denied the plaintiff’s motion to issue sanctions, or enforcement penalties, against RENEW for withholding or delaying important information.

Fenn also denied the defendant’s motion to strike portions of Dr. Kim Faulkner’s statements provided by the plaintiff. Faulkner worked at RENEW as its clinical director of psychology and led a special program for sexual offenders within the rehabilitation center in which the perpetrator participated.

Court documents filed by the plaintiff said RENEW management undermined Faulkner’s program and forced him to quit. He was worried if an incident occurred, he might lose his medical license. After Faulkner’s resignation, the sexual offender program ceased to exist despite Faulkner’s suggestion to continue the program.

In lieu of a summary judgment, Fenn approved the defendant’s motion to extend the designation of experts from Feb. 20 to March 15, giving both sides time to allow experts to review all documentation before a trial.

For further proceedings, Fenn gave control to counsel to set deadlines amongst themselves. Mediation will be completed by a judge of the counsels’ agreed choosing on a date of their choosing.

Fenn encouraged the attorneys to work out mediation judges and dates on their own.

Fenn maintained the April 3 date for a pretrial conference on the matter. 

By |February 16th, 2017|

About the Author:

Ashleigh Fox joined The Sheridan Press in October 2016 as the government, cops and courts reporter. She is a native of Colorado and graduated from Biola University in Los Angeles, CA. Before working in Sheridan, she worked as a sports editor for the Sidney Herald in Sidney, MT. Email Ashleigh at: