Beasley Allen Atlanta’s principal Parker Miller and Anita Lamar of the Lamar Law Office have filed a lawsuit against West End Family Life and Community Center, Inc., on behalf of the family of a child who alleges an adult male sexually abused and raped her continuously over two months while she attended a summer camp hosted by the church in 2018. The plaintiffs also named as a defendant the South Atlanta Conference of Seventh-day Adventist, Inc, (SACA), of which West End Community Center is a member.
“If you were to close your eyes and try to imagine a worse scenario than this one, I am not sure you could do it,” Miller said. “As a parent, I am appalled by what we believe took place here, and frankly, I cannot comprehend what this poor child and her family have been through.”
“This brave, young child dared to speak out, and we will stand beside this family,” Lamar said. “We will help her find answers and work to hold accountable all the adults who failed this child. This situation is unimaginable, and we hope our efforts will encourage other victims to come forward.”
The lawsuit alleges an agent or employee of the camp “repeatedly raped and sexually abused” the child “[a]pproximately, if not precisely, for numerous weeks throughout June to July 2018 during the Bible Camp … in a classroom located inside Defendants WEFLCC and/or SACA’s community center during camp hours.” The plaintiffs also allege that other adult defendants employed by the defendants to operate the camp “knew or should have known” about the perpetrator’s behavior and the potential to victimize other minors attending the camp. The lawsuit further claims that the defendants failed to warn the child’s guardians of the dangerous conditions or persons who had access to children at the camp, properly vet and follow up on all counselors given access to minors, conduct reasonable inspections and perform continued oversight and supervision of the program and staff, and train all employees with oversight responsibility, among other charges.
“Ultimately, we believe the defendants negligently failed to operate this camp in a safe manner and protect this child from an extremely dangerous situation. Considering this camp took place in conjunction with a religious institution, it is the last place a parent would suspect a dangerous sexual predator to be. Unfortunately, not only was that the case here, but that predator was allowed to remain at this camp and terrorize this child for weeks with no oversight or supervision. We seek complete accountability for the physical injuries and trauma that will likely haunt this child and her family for the rest of their lives.”
– Parker Miller, Beasley Allen Lawyer
In March, the Atlanta Police Department arrested the person affiliated with the camp, alleged to be responsible for raping the minor child. It confirmed it was investigating two other males employed by the church who may have been involved or failed to protect the child from the alleged perpetrator. The man was charged with aggravated sodomy, sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority, child molestation, sexual battery of a minor, aggravated child molestation and cruelty to children in the first degree. Beasley Allen and the Lamar Law Office have been cooperating with the authorities during their investigation. “I pray this is not true, but I fear there may be more,” says Miller. Lamar agreed. “It would not surprise me at all if there are others. This is such a tragedy for this community.”
The case is filed in the State Court for Fulton County, Georgia.