On January 26, 2022, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of Tevin Pike against Sequel TSI of Alabama, Sequel TSI of Tuskegee, and Sequel Youth & Family Services LLC (“Sequel”), alleging that Pike was a former 15-year-old resident at an Alabama treatment facility for children run by Sequel TIS of Tuskegee, a residential psychiatric facility, for about two months in 2018, during which Pike was allegedly “choked, beaten, punched, slapped and slammed to the ground’’ by employees and other residents. The lawsuit alleges that Pike was placed in isolation as punishment, sometimes for days, during which he had no access to food and water and was forced to urinate in the corner of the segregation room.
The lawsuit alleges: “Tevin did not receive the necessary mental health treatment he needed but was instead physically abused and emotionally traumatized at Sequel Tuskegee. The other residents in the unit were 18 and 19 years old. These residents were allowed to attack Tevin nightly. Tevin did not feel safe at Sequel Tuskegee. Tevin’s two months in Sequel Tuskegee would be a house of horrors. He and the other children at Sequel Tuskegee were treated like animals by staff. Tevin and the other children were physically, verbally and emotionally abused.”
Pike’s attorney stated at the time the complaint was filed: “A culture of violence and abuse pervades throughout Sequel facilities across the country. The level of abuse is staggering and very disturbing. My client lived in a house of horrors. No parent would ever want their child to spend even one hour in a Sequel facility.”
Sequel is a privately-owned, for-profit operator of behavioral healthcare facilities for children and youth in the United States. Sequel is headquartered in Huntsville, Alabama and owns a nationwide network of over 40 facilities in more than 15 states, including residential treatment centers, group homes, special schools, and community-based programs. In Alabama, the Alabama Department of Youth Services and the Alabama Department of Human Resources place at-risk children in the Sequel facility to receive medically required mental health care. According to reporting, Alabama pays Sequel about $330 per day to house each child and has paid Sequel in excess of $30 million since 2018.
In a public letter, the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program wrote that it has “grave concerns about the immediate safety and welfare” of the nearly 100 children, aged 12 to 18, currently in facilities run by Sequel TSI of Alabama, a Huntsville-based provider. Many states have reportedly revoked contracts with Sequel (but not Alabama). In 2020, a lawsuit filed on behalf of a 14-year-old against the Sequel facility in north Alabama alleged that the teenager suffered long-term abuse at the hands of staff and other children residing at the facility. That lawsuit alleged that Sequel engages in a pattern and practice of using violent force against children and that children at Sequel facilities are subjected to unapproved and painful restraint techniques, long term seclusion/isolation and physical abuse (“Staff refuses to intervene during fights and often encourages these fights. There is poor supervision, staff bullying and intimidation of the children. Many of the children ‘served’ by Sequel are victims with traumatic histories. These children are re-traumatized daily by continuous abuse and neglect.”). In 2020, 16-year-old Cornelius Frederick died after he was reportedly smothered to death by Sequel employees in Michigan after he threw a sandwich.
If you or a loved one suffered harm while in a Sequel facility in Alabama or in another state, you should promptly seek the advice of an Alabama lawyer, or a lawyer in your state, who may investigate your Sequel claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a lawsuit against Sequel, if appropriate.
Visit our website or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to find local attorneys in you state who may assist you with your claim against Sequel.
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