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Sexual Abuse Victims at New Mexico’s Now-Closed Desert Hills Youth Treatment Center® May Be Eligible for Compensation, Justice


In a monumental ruling, a Rio Arriba County jury awarded an astounding $485 million in a lawsuit filed on behalf of a young girl who was sexually abused in a specialized foster care program.

This program was intended to provide her with behavioral health treatment, and the jury's verdict and award demonstrated to the girl that she is valued and that the abuse she suffered should never have occurred.

The lawsuit was filed in 2019 against several defendants, including Acadia Healthcare® subsidiary Desert Hills Youth Treatment Center®, a former residential treatment center for children.

The lawsuit alleged that these companies failed to protect the children in their care from Clarence Garcia, who was criminally charged with child sexual abuse.

The state Children, Youth, and Families Department revoked a license for Acadia Healthcare® in 2019 following reports of sexual abuse and violence at the facility, and it was ordered to shut down.

Desert Hills Youth Treatment Center®, which has served at-risk youth for decades, has had a history of allegations dating back to at least August 2017, shortly after it was bought by Acadia Healthcare®, one of the nation's largest behavioral health corporations.

These allegations include suicide attempts, ingesting harmful substances, unauthorized departures from the facility, fights leading to injuries, sexual abuse by other children, and underreporting of such incidents to CYFD.

Despite the lack of formal reporting of these incidents, the CYFD consistently received accounts of abuse and assaults from kids' relatives, probation officers, and Child Protective Services.

As a result, Desert Hills Youth Treatment Center® was issued a cease-and-desist by CYFD in December 2018, revoking their license to operate in the state and denying their Medicaid certification.

We firmly believe Desert Hills Youth Treatment Center® and Acadia Healthcare® should be held accountable for any harm to any youths under their care

 If you suffered abuse in Desert Hills Residential Treatment Center®, we urge you to request a free, 100% confidential consultation immediately.

We believe all sexual abuse victims at New Mexico's now-closed Desert Hills Youth Treatment Center® deserve an opportunity for compensation and justice, starting with a free, private case evaluation to determine a potential case settlement value.

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