Suit alleges years of abuse at Virginia children’s hospital

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A newly filed lawsuit against a Virginia children’s hospital alleges patients were subjected to sexual abuse and physical assaults over at least a 12-year period.

The families of 20 former patients of the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents in New Kent filed the civil lawsuit Tuesday against the hospital, its Pennsylvania-based owner and two physicians, the Times-Dispatch and TV station WTVR reported.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs allege that the former medical director of the hospital inappropriately touched young female patients during routine medical exams. The lawsuit also says employees and fellow patients physically struck or sexually abused other residents, the newspaper reported.

Further, it alleges that the hospital and owner, Universal Health Services, kept patients longer than necessary in order to maximize revenue, ignored reports about the ongoing abuse and provided misleading information to parents, according to a news release from the law firm.

Attempts by both news outlets to reach the defendants for comment were not successful. An emailed inquiry from The Associated Press to the UHS press office was not immediately returned Wednesday. AP also left a phone message seeking comment with the CEO of the hospital.

Online court records do not list attorneys for the defendants.

The hospital in New Kent, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Richmond, offers residential treatment and hospital services to youths with brain injury, chronic illness or neurobehavioral issues, according to its website.

The plaintiffs are seeking $127 million in damages.

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