FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The director of a former youth chemical dependency center in Jamestown recently settled a civil lawsuit over accusations of misconduct among staff members, one of whom allegedly had sex with residents and showed them how to cook up methamphetamine, according to court documents.
The complaint was filed six years ago against Fargo-based Drake Counseling Center Inc. and Charles Drake on behalf of 11 minors who were residents at the inpatient center, which closed suddenly amid an investigation by Jamestown police. Documents in the case remained sealed until earlier this month.
“The Drake Center absolutely failed in its duty to the children involved in this case and breached all levels of trust,” the complaint reads. “Drake not only failed to help these children and their families, but actually caused additional substantial harm.”
Drake in his response to the original complaint denied the allegations and said any “alleged loss, damage or injury” was caused by the negligence or fault of the 11 minors who filed the suit.
Drake and his lawyer in the case, Joel Flom, did not respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for the defendants declined to comment.
No criminal charges have been filed.
The complaint said the North Dakota Department of Human Services initially suspended Drake’s license in March 2008, at which time Drake engaged in “legal maneuvers” to cover up the failed operations, according to the defendants. That resulted in “non-disclosure to the public, insurance companies, referring agents or residents themselves,” the suit states.
Heather Steffl, spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services, said she could not release licensure review reports because substance abuse treatment programs are protected by confidentiality laws. JoAnne Hoesel, director of the department’s Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said Drake Counseling is properly licensed in Fargo and Grand Forks.
Drake is also licensed to operate a youth center in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, similar to the Jamestown facility.
The complaints against the Jamestown treatment center primarily involved weekend and night staff. One of them had a criminal record that included a felony conviction for possession of methamphetamine, and he allegedly gave a “step-by-step” tutorial on how to manufacture meth. That staff member also is accused of having sex with at least two residents.
The 92-page lawsuit alleges that other incidents included staff members threatening and physically abusing residents; staffers providing beer, prescription drugs and cigarettes; employees openly using drugs; a staff member showing pornographic photographs and video; and personnel allowing residents to engage in sexual activity.
“Activities during the evenings and weekends were out of control,” the suit says.