A decision by the Virginia Attorney General may delay investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct at Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents. Stating its office assumed jurisdiction owing to a personal conflict with the former attorney in New Kent County, Attorney General Jason Miyares said, through a spokeswoman, that the new attorney has no conflict. Multiple lawsuits, both pending and already determined, leave the plaintiffs and defendants in legal limbo.
New prosecutor developing a course of action
Approximately 50 ex-patients have lawsuits against the facility and related corporate entities such as Universal Health Services, Inc. Investigations that began in 2017 have resulted in prosecutions against two hospital staffers. Although no charges stand against long-time medical director Daniel Davidow, more than three dozen females allege that they were sexually abused during physical exams. Multiple male plaintiffs also allege physical abuse by employees.
Attorneys have sought to consolidate the lawsuits for presentation at a single trial. The new attorney, T. Scott Renick, has one deputy and one assistant prosecutor. He claims he did not request jurisdiction returned to him. Recently, his office met with a state police investigator who will present a report of findings.
Statute of limitations for sexual abuse under Virginia law
Virginia law sets for a very specific time during which an action to recover against alleged injuries from sexual abuse. For allegations prior to July 1, 2020, the plaintiff must file within 20 years from cause of action as defined in state law. After that date, sexual abuse allegations, other than those relating to the above, have an expiration of ten years from the cause of action.
The impact of sexual abuse extends to all parties in ways well beyond the law: psychologically, emotionally, professionally and intellectually. Allegations of sexual abuse involve dealing with specific scientific data and evidence. Attorneys who understand these issues and how the law applies them can offer guidance.