Oct 24, 2014 9:39 PM
Families allege verbal, physical abuse at Crotched Mountain
SUNAPEE - Jessica Giberson says her son was "tortured" by employees at the Crotched Mountain Foundation, a school that assists developmentally disabled children.
"I trusted these people, and I trusted the school-but then one day in June, on a Friday night, Crotched Mountain called me and told me that there was a report that two aides had come forward and told them that three aides in the classroom were abusing my son," Giberson said.
Giberson has filed a lawsuit - along with a Vermont family - alleging the organization instilled fear, pinched and even photographed her son on the toilet.
Giberson's son, identified in the lawsuit as "J.G.", started attending the school in 2011. She says she never thought of the horror she'd experience.
"They took naked pictures of him and put them on Snapchat while he was going to the bathroom," Giberson explained.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages and a jury trial.
Contacted by NH1 News, Crotched Mountain released the following statement:
The behavior that is alleged here is deeply disturbing and absolutely antithetical to Crotched Mountain's founding principle that everyone deserves to experience life with the highest level of dignity and respect.
Upon learning of possible mistreatment of a student by now-former staff, we reported the allegations to the Division for Child, Youth and Families, to the student's parents and to the police. We thoroughly investigated the allegations ourselves, took quick action, terminated employees, and have cooperated fully with law enforcement.
At Crotched Mountain some of the children with whom we work have complex developmental and emotional disabilities. This also makes them among the most vulnerable. We are blessed with a staff that makes their well-being their primary focus and life's work. It takes a special type of person to do this work and we have exhaustive policies and protocols in place designed to protect the safety and security of all our students, as well as our staff.
Authorities are now, appropriately, in charge of investigating and prosecuting the three former staff and their guilt and punishment will be determined by the legal system.
The civil complaint, recently filed against Crotched Mountain and others, contains inaccuracies and falsehoods and Crotched Mountain will respond accordingly through the court system.
At Crotched Mountain we are continuing our ongoing efforts to focus on the need for vigilance to protect our students' safety, dignity and well-being. We continue to meet as a community to train every member on our policies and procedures, the definition of abuse and neglect, and staff responsibilities to report suspected abuse, as well as protect students' privacy.
~ Michael Redmond, Senior Vice President and COO of Crotched Mountain Foundation.
Contact Multimedia Journalist Tyler Dumont via email at tdumont@NH1.com and follow him on Twitter @NH1_Tyler.