E-Alerts & Press Releases

PJC Argues State Liable for Sexual Abuse of Children in its Custody

The PJC submitted an amicus brief in the case of Pendleton v. State, No. 31, Court of Appeals of Maryland, September Term 2005. Over a two-month period, while in the custody of the State in a group home, a ten-year-old boy was sexually assaulted by his roommate, a sixteen-year-old boy who also was in the custody of the State. The Circuit Court dismissed the victim's claim for damages, concluding that the State owes no enforceable tort duty to a child under these circumstances. The amicus brief argues that the State has an enforceable duty to exercise reasonable care to protect children in its custody, and also to prevent children in its custody from harming others.

The brief was written by Murnaghan Appellate Advocacy Fellow Beth Mellen Harrison, and joined by Advocates for Children and Youth and the Juvenile Law, Children’s Issues, and Legislative Advocacy Clinic of the University of Maryland School of Law.

« Back