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MacLaren Hall Sexual Abuse Lawsuit: Get the Right Attorney

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Los Angeles County on behalf of a dozen people who claim they were sexually abused as minors at MacLaren Hall, a children’s residential care center in El Monte, California, that operated from 1961 to 2003.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt
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If you or a loved one was sexually abused, or otherwise mistreated, while a resident of MacLaren Hall (now known as MacLaren Children’s Center), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a MacLaren Hall Sexual Abuse Lawsuit and our lawyers can help. Please click the button below for a Free Confidential Case Evaluation or call us toll-free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.

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12 Former MacLaren Hall Residents Sue LA County for Failing to Protect Them Against Sexual Predators

In May 2022, the County of Los Angeles was named as a defendant in a civil action lawsuit alleging that at least 12 people were sexually assaulted as children while housed at MacLaren Hall.

The lawsuit further claims that children at MacLaren Hall were frequently sexually abused and assaulted by other children, as well as by staff members because the residents were poorly supervised.

Plaintiffs in the lawsuit include survivors who allege that MacLaren employees assaulted them, drugged them, and forced them to perform sexual acts from 1988 to 2001. One plaintiff said he was abused as a 5-year-old, and another plaintiff claims staff at the facility beat her for alleging sexual abuse.

One survivor who reported sexual abuse to a staff member at MacLaren Hall was allegedly threatened with “lockdown” if she told anyone else about the abuse.

“I tried to commit suicide, I over-medicated, I did a lot of things to try to cover up those nightmares that I was experiencing not knowing why until now,” said an alleged victim at a press conference announcing the lawsuit.

One month after the civil action was filed, another complaint was entered on behalf of 31 alleged survivors of MacLaren Hall sexual abuse. That lawsuit claims MacLaren Hall was poorly maintained, understaffed, and overcrowded, with children being sexually assaulted, restrained, taunted, and over-medicated.

However, it now appears as if these will not be the only lawsuits filed over sexual abuse at MacLaren Hall. The San Jose Mercury News reported that there may be as many as 500 other potential additional plaintiffs in the future.

What was MacLaren Hall?

MacLaren Hall opened its doors in El Monte, California, during the 1940s for the purpose of housing non-delinquent minors and keeping them separated from other children who were guilty or accused of crimes.

By the 1960s, the purpose of the facility had been expanded to include housing over 4,000 children from the county juvenile hall who were pushed out due to overcrowding.

MacLaren Hall operated for the next four decades before it was closed in 2003 as part of a class action settlement by the ACLU following years of reports of child abuse, beatings, rapes, neglect, over-medications, and other forms of abuse. The ACLU accused LA County and the State of California of:

  • Over-reliance on MacLaren Hall as a permanent housing facility rather than a temporary one.
  • Favoring budgetary decisions over choices made in the best interests of the children
  • Simply cataloging the mental health needs of children rather than providing care
  • Dispensing minimal or no appropriate mental health treatments to children in need
  • Minimal or no training for staff and other social workers

The facility is now called the MacLaren Children’s Center, where social workers have their offices.

Former MacLaren Resident Wins $20 Million in Sexual Assault Lawsuit

In July 2018, a woman who suffered years of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of her mother and 4 men living with them was awarded $45.4 million in a lawsuit against Los Angeles County, which claimed 2 social workers had reasonable suspicions she was being molested but failed to inform authorities.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for about 4 1/2 hours before reaching the verdict in her favor. The panel apportioned the county’s liability at 45%, or about $20.6 million. The jury delegated another 45% responsibility to the child’s mother and 10% collectively to the 4 male perpetrators.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in California?

In California, the statute of limitations, or SOL, for filing a sexual assault civil claim depends on the survivor’s age at the time of the assault. If the sexual assault occurred when the victim was under the age of 18 years old, California law permits him or her to take legal action until the latter of:

  • The date the survivor turns 40 years old; or
  • Within 5 years of discovering that “psychological injury or illness occurring after the age of majority was caused by the sexual assault.”

Proving Negligence in a MacLaren Hall Lawsuit

Proving that the defendant is liable for your injuries lies in establishing negligence in a sexual assault lawsuit. For MacLaren Hall abuse victims, the most promising is negligent hiring and supervision by Los Angeles County.

As the employer, LA County knew or should have known that MacLaren Hall staff members were a danger to residents of the facility. The county may be responsible for sexual abuse by MacLaren Hall employees if 1 or more of the following occurs:

  • The county neglects to run a background check and hires a person with a criminal record for a violent crime.
  • The county ignores complaints by parents of a staff member’s inappropriate behavior or ignores other evidence of abuse.
  • The county writes a training program for its employees about child sexual abuse but fails to supervise its employees’ implementation of related protocols.

A sexual abuse lawyer can assist you in gathering the necessary evidence for a successful claim. Contact the law offices of Schmidt & Clark, LLP, today at (866) 588-0600 for a free case evaluation.

What Compensation Could I Be Awarded in a MacLaren Hall Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse face both short-term trauma as well as lifelong effects that can prevent them from being productive members of society. Financial compensation for multiple types of damages may be available to survivors, including:

* Note – Plaintiffs in California are not legally able to pursue punitive damages against government entities such as Los Angeles County. However, punitive damages can be sought from individuals employed by government entities.

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The Sexual Abuse Litigation Group at Schmidt Clark, LLP law firm is an experienced team of trial lawyers that focus on the representation of plaintiffs in Maclaren Hall Sexual Abuse Lawsuits. We are handling individual litigation nationwide and are currently accepting new abuse cases in all 50 states.

Again, if you or a loved one was sexually abused, or otherwise mistreated while a resident of MacLaren Hall (now known as MacLaren Children’s Center), you should contact our law firm immediately. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a Maclaren Hall Sexual Abuse Lawsuit and our lawyers can help.

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