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Mother of disabled child learns of son's reported sexual abuse nearly one year later

READ MORE: Mother of disabled child learns of son's reported sexual abuse nearly one year later
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- After her disabled son was reportedly sexually abused, the boy's mother says she was not informed for nearly a year. Now she wants justice.

Linda Lee says she never thought it could happen. A few months ago, a detective from the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office told her that her nine-year-old autistic son had reportedly been sexually abused.

She says if her son Dante were normal, things would have been handled much differently.

"From my understanding, I was told she was playing with his private parts," Lee said.

In June 2010 an incident report was filed with the New Hanover County Sheriff's Office claiming Dante was sexually abused by the 12-year-old daughter of a community support worker. However, Lee was not informed of the report until March of this year.

"I feel a parent should have known what was going on," Lee said.

She says Det. Savitts, who was handling the case, said because Dante could not communicate effectively there was no reason to tell Lee and that it would not have made a difference in the investigation.

After the abuse reportedly happened, Lee says she noticed Dante having difficulty controlling his bladder and bowel movements. A therapist later told he those were tell-tale signs of sexual abuse.

"If Dante was normal and could speak, I would've heard about it," Lee said.

After writing a letter of complaint to the Sheriff's Office, Sheriff Ed McMahon wrote back, "After examining the actions of Det. Savitts, it is clear that she followed all laws, protocols, and procedure related to investigating these types of cases."

Lee says Det. Savitts has since closed the investigation, but Lee does not think the Sheriff's Office handled it properly.

"I do not believe that that report was complete," Lee said. "I did not believe that she did everything she was supposed to do, because had she did, she would've contacted me."

Lee says the state agency that employed the support worker has yet to file an incident report with the state. We tried reaching out to someone from the agency, but they have not gotten back to us.

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A real shame

I hope they get justice! And if the detective knew the boy was non verbal that should have been more reason for her to act quickly and find out if the child was ok. Does him being non verbal make him less important or does it make his case unworthy of investigation? Even if no investigation was done the detective should have at least contacted the parents. This seems like a civil rights issue as well.

Office of civil rights for

Office of civil rights for the disibilities have been nonitified as of today. All documents have been forward. I hope they will take this matter serious. My response was the same if told this child is non-verbal the first respone should have been notifying the parents.
It appears that his non-verbal status make his well being and case totally unworthy and a waste of tax payers time.

Isn't It Amazing?

Isn't it amazing that there are only 7 comments on this article, but hundreds of comments over two State Trooper's and an attorney's wife. What does this say about our society?

do society really care about our disabled & the care recieved!!

i have felt the same way so glad for your comment! Who will stand in the gap! God help our society! It only makes me wonder!

I am angry for this mother

I am angry for this mother and child! Every parent has the right to know anything of such magnitude! That child received no support through a horrible experience because the mother was not informed! Sickening!

Its heart wrenching

I totally agree with you. But what happens in more cases then not that when it involves a child with disabilities they just turn their heads and act like nothing happened. The law is the law no matter who you are if u commited the crime then u need to do the time.

Im just so sick about this and my heart going out to ms. lee and her son

WOW! WOW! My heart goes out

WOW! WOW!
My heart goes out to the mom, but this has raised several questions!

1) What is the worker's daughter doing with the person that worker is being paid to take care of? This is a clear violation of not only a Mental Health provider policy but clearly a violation of HIPAA!

2) An incident report should have been completed within 72 hours. What is this agency doing? This agency needs to be shut down, the worker needs her name placed on the health care registry and the mother of the autistic child needs to file legal action against this company.

Poor Kid! He didn't ask for this!

Ms. Lee~

Providing the facts of this story are accurate, this conclusion and the way this unfortunate occurrence ended is absolutely unacceptable.

IF the agency, whether Private/Profit or non-profit or a State agency, the LAW was BROKEN, and your son, this young boy has been violated, both physically and by policy rules that have been set in place to protect consumers of such necessary services.

A community support worker has absolutely no business providing services to an client/individual, (who is PROTECTED by PRIVACY LAWS and a Client Bill Of RIGHTS), in the presence of his/her own daughter!
That is a very strict no-no!
WHERE ON EARTH are the CHILD Advocates???

Has Southeastern Center for MH/DD/SA been contacted???? Their access number for screening and assessment is 1-866-875-1757, and they are located right on 17th Street near the hospital and claim to be consumer advocates.
The director of consumer affairs phone number is 313-6004.

Southeastern Center for mental health/developmentally disabled and substance abuse is the "Local Managing Entity" (L.M.E.) that oversees ALL agencies which employ community support workers as far as I know.

The article read:
"the state agency that employed the support worker has yet to file an incident report with the state."

OMG!! WHY NOT????????? They need to be SANCTIONED and SHUT DOWN by the paying agency, which is most likely the State Medicaid offices.

I almost FELL right out of my seat when I read that!! However, there is a possibility that this story has not been accurately researched and reported upon, so I will reserve judgement, but as I stated at the beginning, if accurately reported, this is a travesty.

GET A LAWYER, Ms. Lee!

PARENT OF A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD

Do you have a special needs child? You can type all the phone numbers you want and state that this one should have been contacted and that one should have done this. But the reality of it all no matter who should have been contacted and who should have done that because Ms Lee's son is a special needs child, and they claim that the child couldnt communicate what happen. Its just another way to sweep this under the rug and just let it collect dust. See what so many people dont understand, and maybe yourself, is that these children and adults with disabilities have the same rights any anyone else on this earth. But the problem is that these children and adults are treated so differently and dont get the justice that they deserve.
A crime has been commited, and no matter what the age of the one who commited this crime needs to be delt with to the highest extent......

SEMHC

Thanks casemanger was notified in march casemanager notified
agency. I verified through through L.M.E at SEMHC and as of today no incident report filed.

What a shame

If this is how this story plays out, there should be a thorough investigation of not only the day care, but of the sheriff's office for not following through. It is disgusting to think that this happened and nothing was done and the parent was not informed of it at all. What were these people thinking? Not only that, they need to be checking on the person in charge of caring for these youngsters, and on the girl that supposedly did the molesting. They will probably find this was not the first time and probably the last either.

The authorities need to own up to their mistakes and get the ball rolling on this one.

PARENT OF A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD

Part 2, My advice to Ms. Lee, dont let this get sweaped under the rug. Make as much noise as you have to go up the ladder and keeping going untill someone is willing to listen and take full action. Dont just let it go. As being a parent of am ec child you have to make alot of noise, continusly knock on doors and be persistant. Believe me if u do this and not stop you will get the justice that you and your son deserves...... I know ive had to do this many times............. And dont let the system or offical workers bully you.

PARENT OF A SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD

First of all my heart goes out to Ms. Lee and her son. Being a parent of a special needs child i know exactly what she is going through. Its so heart wrenching to watch the way that "normal" people in this world take advantage of handicapped people. Young and old. And in a situation like this it shouldnt be an issue whether her son could communicate or not. A crime has been commited here and since Ms Less's son has disabilities, the abuser should get the max sentence.
What really tickes me off everyone in this world has some type of disability. But its the ones like Ms. Lee's son and mine that others think its ok to abuse just because they are disabled. I hope and pray that Ms. Lee and her son get justice for this and I will say a prayer for them.

There are a couple of issues...

1) What in the world was the working doing with her daughter AND the person she should be working with? This is a clear violation of HIPAA!
2) An incident report needs to be completed within 72 hours of the event and you have stated that the agency has not completed the report? Someone needs to contact Southeastern Center for Mental Health and Department of Health and Human Services!
3) Some get this woman a good lawyer please!

I only pray for the correct help for this child! He did not ask for this to happen.

Get a Lawyer!!!!! Do Not

Get a Lawyer!!!!! Do Not allow anyone involed to get away with this,start at the agency and go all the way up to the Sheriffs Department that refused to tell this mother what had happened to her child!!!! Ms.Lee please obtain legal advice if nothing else just to show these people that this is not tolerated,and shame shame on NHCSD for not going straight to the mother when this was reported to them!! GET A LAWYER!!!!!!My thoughts and prayers are with you and your son..