Foster home, 3 teens sued over beating of man
By Justin Dennis
A Salem man is suing three teen girls who attempted to break into his elderly father’s home in April 2017 then badly beat him when he intervened.
He also is suing the private foster home in Goshen Township they ran away from that day.
Douglas Messimer and his wife, Sandra, filed a civil suit in March 2018 against teens Jaidyn Hall, Sunday Procter and Aleya Forsee as well as The Village Network, which operates the Sharon Lynn Group Home along Sharon Lynn Drive in Goshen Township, where the girls lived – the same home from which five female residents escaped Dec. 26 after stealing an employee’s vehicle and crashing it into a building.
The girls involved in the April 2017 incident were 15 or 16 when they left the home and attempted to break into the Salem-Warren Road home of Douglas Messimer’s 83-year-old father, according to the complaint.
The suit claims the home placed no restrictions to keep the juveniles from leaving, “despite their past negative history.”
According to the complaint, Messimer’s father called him and his wife, who lived next door, to confront the teens. When Douglas Messimer attempted to call 911, Procter reportedly took his phone and threw it. She then struck the man multiple times and the two other girls joined in, kicking him, according to the complaint. They stopped when Sandra Messimer retrieved a .38-caliber handgun from inside her home and fired a shot into the air.
Goshen Township police arrived and detained the girls. They were later transported to the Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center.
Douglas Messimer was taken to the hospital with multiple injuries to his face, eyes and legs. He continued to have headaches after the assault and a CT scan revealed he suffered a brain hemorrhage, according to the complaint.
“Douglas Messimer remained on very limited activity, and was only able to do limited work in the yard for not more than one hour a day,” the complaint reads. “He was not able to drive or participate in other activities. He remained on pain medication.”
The teens were arraigned the following day in Mahoning County Juvenile Court. Each later admitted to felony counts of assault or aggravated assault as well as attempted burglary, according to county juvenile court Administrator Wes Skeels. Their cases were transferred back to their home juvenile courts in Ashtabula, Clermont and Summit counties.
The civil suit makes assault and battery claims against the juveniles, as well as negligence and reckless conduct claims against The Village Network.
Though The Village Network is one of 33 private child placement agencies contracted last year by the Mahoning County Children Services Board, Executive Director Randy Muth said the board did not send any county juveniles to the Sharon Lynn Group Home last year.
Muth said The Village Network and other privately operated group homes are regulated by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which tracks incidents and issues violations when a foster home is deemed at-fault. ODJFS may then “recommend” county social-service agencies refrain from contracting with violating providers – but that didn’t happen after the April 2017 incident, Muth said.
State foster-care licensing supervisors could not be reached for comment Thursday.
The county CSB paid The Village Network $131,510.48 for services from January 2018 to November 2018 and a total of $252,795.69 in 2017. Its most recent agreement was renewed through June.
A mediation hearing in the civil suit is set for March before county juvenile justice Magistrate James Melone, according to court records. A jury trial is set for May before Judge Anthony D’Apolito of common pleas court.