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New Mexico Jury Awards $485 Million to 8-Year-old Victim of Sexual Abuse

October 18, 2023
8-Year-old Victim of Sexual Abuse

A New Mexico jury awarded $485 million in damages on behalf of an 8-year-old girl who was repeatedly sexually assaulted in New Mexico foster care. The child was represented by numerous lawyers, with Josh Conaway of Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy, and Conaway, P.C. of New Mexico as one of the lead attorneys who tried the case.

“This verdict sends a clear message that children are valued and for-profit companies can’t turn a blind eye to their safety while hoarding profits,” stated Josh Conaway, co-counsel and partner for Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway. “We are thankful for the courage shown by the 12 jurors in holding Acadia Healthcare responsible for its actions.” Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway were among several attorney teams that represented the victim. 

The lawsuit was one of many cases of sexual assault of children in the New Mexico foster care program. In this case, the accused pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor. He was sentenced to up to 20 years of probation. Records show he was accused of sexually abusing six children under his care over six years.

The civil case verdict came after nearly two weeks of testimony in a Tierra Amarilla courtroom. The testimony focused in part on allegations of corporate negligence against defendants, including a top U.S. healthcare corporation, Acadia Healthcare Inc., the parent company of a now-defunct subsidiary called Youth and Family Centered Services of New Mexico, Inc.

Display of Reckless and Negligent Behavior

The case revolved around a young girl who was sexually abused in foster care by a foster parent licensed under the Acadia  Healthcare Company, Inc.’s umbrella of subsidiaries doing business in New Mexico. (Acadia Healthcare Company, Inc., Youth and Family Centered Services of New Mexico, Inc., d/b/a Desert Hills & Familyworks, Inc.)  The lawyers argued that the company was reckless in protecting and keeping the child safe in light of historical and recurring reports of sexual assault, physical assault, and emotional abuse in the foster home.

Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy, and Conaway, P.C. Represents Injury Victims in New Mexico

Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy, and Conaway have represented corporate greed victims since 1984.  With offices in Lubbock and Odessa, Texas, and Albuquerque and Hobbs, New Mexico, the firm’s geographical reach makes it a regional firm that handles cases nationwide.  The firm has focused its practice on representing families whose loved ones have been catastrophically injured or killed as a result of corporate decision-making processes, which place a company’s profits ahead of individuals’ safety. FCHC has represented clients against some of the largest energy companies in the country, forcing them to answer for corporate cultures that view a balance sheet as more important than workers’ lives. If you have suffered an injury due to the negligence of another, contact them online or give them a call at (800) 433-2408.

Case Information:

State of New Mexico, County of Rio Arriba, First Judicial District Court

The Case No. D-117-CV-2019-00136