Elkhart County courthouse

GOSHEN — A couple alleges negligence by Bashor Children’s Home resulted in their son running away, enduring an alleged sexual assault and disappearing for more than a day last summer.

In a civil suit filed Wednesday, the anonymous couple seeks damages from Bashor to cover expenses and trauma that arose out of the incident in August 2020. The couple is identified with the alias Jane and John Doe as a note in the complaint explains their son is a minor and a sex crime victim.

The 13-year-old was a resident at Bashor who was placed at the campus, 62226 C.R. 15, in Goshen as a result of a juvenile case out of Hamilton County in 2019. In addition, he had a history of running away from home and the campus, or leaving assigned areas, details in the lawsuit show. The suit alleged Bashor has also had issues with teenagers running away from the facility leading up to the end of last August.

According to the complaint, the boy joined six other youths in leaving Bashor around 10 a.m. Aug. 29. Bashor staff reported the disappearance of seven teens to Elkhart County police about an hour-and-a-half later that morning, saying they took off around 10:40, police records show.

The group went to some location where sexual activity began to occur. The suit alleges four of the teens raped another youth, and then the boy was sexually assaulted, according to the details.

Hours later, around 2:45 p.m., Bashor staff called the boy’s mother to inform her he had run off with several other youths and not to worry, allegations in the case continue.

The next day, the boy’s mother made frequent calls to Bashor and got little information. She also called Goshen police, but, according to the accusations in the lawsuit, department staff said they don’t have resources to help find “Bashor kids.”

The boy’s father arrived in Elkhart County that Saturday night to physically search for his son. Late at night, he joined police, following a tip, and searched a cornfield but with no success. The boy’s mother joined the search the next morning, according to details in the lawsuit. She had also sought to recruit the boy’s Department of Child Services case worker to aid in the search, but later learned the employee was prohibited by DCS from joining, the suit shows.

By about 9 p.m. Aug. 30, the boy was found at a local park and was brought back to Bashor where the suit alleged he had scratch marks and bite marks on his body.

“He had human bite marks on his arms and was in obvious need of attention,” the lawsuit states while describing how the mother saw him the next day.

The suit also alleges Bashor staff spoke to the boy shortly after he was returned that Sunday night, and the boy recounted the sexual assault against him and the other youth. The parents were allegedly not informed.

“Bashor … reported (the boy’s) account of events to police and DCS but not his parents. After taking (his) statement, Bashor staff did not examine him, provide him with any medical care or give him a rape kit; they just told him to go to bed,” the lawsuit states.

The mother, according to the complaint, learned of the assault through a parent of the other victim as well as her son’s DCS caseworker. Police and DCS then got involved in investigating the incident, and a medical examination confirmed the boy’s abuse, the suit shows.

The lawsuit also indicates criminal charges have been filed against juveniles involved in the situation as well as one who allegedly assaulted the boy.

The boy’s parents are seeking damages to compensate for losses from the incident, according to the suit. A jury trial has been requested.

The lawsuit was filed in Elkhart County Superior Court 2.

Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aimee.ambrose@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240316. Follow her on Twitter at @aambrose_TGN.

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