By Ed Runyan
Three young women have filed a federal lawsuit against the Trumbull County Children Services Board and one of its employees, claiming the employee engaged in sexual conduct with the women while they were under age 18 and in agency custody.
The women, Shamia Fudge, Kenya Kennedy and a woman listed only as T.W., all of Warren, were under the supervision of the employee when the employee took “at least two of them” to her apartment and had them simulate sex acts with one another while the employee watched, the lawsuit said.
The employee, a Girard woman who worked as a youth leader or dorm mother in a CSB residential unit, also engaged in sex acts with the women, the suit says.
“Throughout this entire period of time, [the employee] groomed Fudge, Kennedy and T.W. through shopping trips, privileges at the residential unit, ability to drive cars, consume tobacco products and various other gift giving,” the suit said.
Atty. David Engler, who filed the lawsuit, had a news conference in the parking lot at Trumbull CSB on Thursday to announce the lawsuit, which is assigned to Magistrate Judge Kathleen B. Burke. Some of the women accompanied him.
Tim Schaffner, Children Services executive director since April, said he is “appalled” to see “Atty. Engler exposing these young women to the public in a parking lot to share their private information.”
Schaffner said the agency investigated allegations against a youth leader about four years ago and reported the allegations to the Warren Police Department, but no charges were filed.
“We will cooperate with the courts and whoever is involved,” Schaffner said, adding, “We believe in the court system. We use it every day to keep kids and families safe.”
The lawsuit alleges the women reported the incidents to Children Services, but the agency continued to employ the woman.
A check of records indicates that there are no police reports indicating that Fudge or Kennedy reported any sexual conduct to the Warren Police Department.
A police report from June 2007 indicated that a 16-year-old girl whose name was not Fudge, Kennedy or T.W. told CSB that inappropriate conduct had occurred between her and an adult CSB employee.
The employee named in the lawsuit has no record of sex-related criminal charges having been filed against her in Trumbull or Mahoning counties.
The lawsuit seeks at least $1 million for each woman for compensatory damages and at least $2 million each for punitive damages.
Engler previously represented Loretta Banks, the biological grandmother of a 9-month-old child in CSB custody who was raped during a visit by her parents at the CSB offices on Reeves Road in April 2011.