An east Macon youth center that the state closed earlier this year is now part of a lawsuit filed by the mother of a 9-year-old girl who was spanked there.
The suit, filed in Bibb County State Court, named the Motivating Youth Foundation, its director, Roger Jackson, and an employee, Oprah Taylor, as defendants.
The plaintiffs, the girl and her mother, allege that the foundation, Jackson and Taylor are liable for the girl’s injuries and what they say was the center’s negligent conduct.
Despite advertising the center’s programs as being safe, the center was cited by the state in 2012 for engaging in improper punishment of enrollees and, in 2013, for failing to provide proper supervision of enrollees, according to the suit.
The girl and her mother contend that Jackson, Taylor and the center were negligent in supervising students, hiring and training employees and “entrustment.”
Due to the negligence, the girl was abused and injured, they contend.
On April 22, Taylor “demanded” that the girl write a letter to her elementary school teacher apologizing for her behavior, according to the suit.
Later, unsatisfied with the letter, Taylor sent the girl to Jackson for further discipline. Jackson “proceeded to physically abuse and injure” the girl by “corporal punishment,” the suit said.
State rules prohibit corporal punishment at child care centers.
Jackson was subsequently charged with misdemeanor battery. The charge is still pending.
The girl and her mother are seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering and punitive damages along with attorneys fees and any other relief deemed proper.
Brian Jarrard, an attorney representing the girl and her mother, said, “I don’t think any child should be subjected to the abuse that my client was, particularly by those that were charged with being her caregiver, and even more so, those that are paid to care for children.”
Virgil Adams, a lawyer representing Jackson, said he hadn’t yet seen a copy of the complaint and declined comment.
The center, located at 905 Main St., reopened Aug. 12 as part of a consent agreement with the state. That agreement limits Jackson’s interaction with enrolled children.
To contact writer Amy Leigh Womack, call 744-4398 or find her on Twitter@awomackmacon.