MacLaren Hall Sex Abuse
MacLaren Hall Children’s Center was a state-run adolescent group home in California. MacLaren Hall was at the center of reports of child sexual abuse and neglect for over 40 years until it was finally shut down in 2003. Victims of MacLaren Hall sexual abuse can work with a California child sex abuse attorney to gain compensation for what happened to them while in the care of the state.
MacLaren Hall was a California state-run group home for adolescents awaiting foster placement. After decades of reported neglect and child sexual abuse, MacLaren Hall was closed in 2003.
Since its closure, hundreds of former residents have come forward with claims of sexual abuse experienced while in state custody at the group home. However, there were likely thousands of victims.
If you were sexually abused while living at MacLaren Hall, a sexual abuse attorney may be able to help you gain the compensation you deserve.
What is MacLaren Hall Children’s Center?
MacLaren Hall Children’s Center served as an emergency home for children who had been removed from their families due to abuse or neglect and were awaiting foster home placement. The group home was located on a 10-acre campus in El Monte, California, and was in operation from 1961 to 2003.
MacLaren Hall was intended as a temporary housing facility, but children sent to the home often spent a year or more awaiting foster placement. MacLaren Hall was notorious for overcrowding. At times, there were over 300 children at the facility, and roughly 4000 children were sent to the home per year during the 1960s.
Although the children’s home was intended to house children without criminal records or mental or emotional health concerns, over time, it increasingly housed adolescents with a history of violent behavior, mental health conditions and criminal activity.
What happened at MacLaren Hall?
MacLaren Hall Children’s Center offered few resources to the children who lived there, and the home gained a reputation for the neglectful practices and abusive tactics used by staff to maintain control of the overcrowded facility.
Reports maintain that the children living at MacLaren Hall were abused physically, sexually and emotionally. They were beaten, tied up and intentionally over- or under-medicated. Oftentimes, children were forced to sleep on floors due to a shortage of beds, and the general state of the home’s maintenance was unhygienic.
MacLaren Hall has frequently been described as a “children’s prison.” Despite having been created to house children without criminal records, the home was surrounded by barbed wire, the grounds were illuminated by floodlights and abusive disciplinary measures were used to maintain order and prevent runaways.
MacLaren Hall Sex Abuse
Of all the suffering that happened at this children’s home, MacLaren Hall sexual abuse may be the most damaging—and most pervasive. Former residents have reported being sexually abused by staff, doctors and other children living in the facility.
MacLaren Hall was closed in 2003 in response to a lawsuit brought against Los Angeles County by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Claims made by the ACLU included a lack of medical and mental health support for the children living there, as well as inadequate training for the staff members charged with caring for the adolescent residents. MacLaren Hall had only begun requiring background checks on staff members two years before closing its doors in 2003.
Hundreds of former children housed at MacLaren Hall have come forward with reports of sexual abuse. However, MacLaren Hall Children’s Center was in operation for over four decades and housed an estimated total of 20,000 children.
It’s believed that thousands more victims have yet to come forward. When they do, they stand to gain compensation for the abuse suffered at the hands of Los Angeles County.
How much money can a MacLaren Hall sex abuse victim gain?
A child sex abuse case falls under personal injury law. Compensation for this type of case is split between economic damages related to the harm and non-economic damages for harm without a corresponding dollar amount.
Child sexual abuse is a particularly heinous type of crime, especially in an institutionalized setting. It can create long-term mental and emotional issues and physical health problems and impact a victim’s quality of life in many ways.
Victims of MacLaren Hall sex abuse stand to gain significant compensation for what was done to them while in the care of the state.
Is it too late for me to take action against MacLaren Hall?
In 2019, California passed the California Child Victims Act, which allows victims of childhood sexual abuse to take legal action until they reach the age of 40. For the majority of MacLaren Hall sex abuse victims, there is still time to contact a lawyer. Two exceptions can also extend this time limit further.
First, there is a three-year “lookback window” in effect until December 21, 2022. Victims of MacLaren Hall sex abuse can come forward seeking compensation until the end of 2022, even if they are over the age of 40.
Additionally, the law recognizes that child victims of sexual abuse may not understand the crimes committed against them until later in life and allows a “permanent exception” to the statute of limitations. In this instance, the law allows legal action until the victim reaches age 40 or five years from the date of discovering the abuse, whichever is later.
Do I need to provide evidence that I was sexually abused at MacLaren Hall?
In a case involving MacLaren Hall sex abuse, your lawyer will do most of the work collecting evidence on your behalf. A MacLaren Hall claim needs to show two different types of evidence—negligence and harm.
Proving negligence in the case of MacLaren Hall depends on who committed the sexual abuse. If the perpetrator was an employee or staff member, your lawyer will need to show that they were unfit to work in a position with children.
If the perpetrator was another juvenile resident, your lawyer will similarly have to show that necessary precautions for keeping adolescent residents safe were not taken. In both cases, it will need to be proven that the sexual abuse occurred and that Los Angeles County knew or should have known about the abuse taking place.
Proving harm can involve medical bills and future medical expenses for health conditions developed as a result of the abuse.
If a victim’s experiences at MacLaren Hall resulted in significant trauma, your lawyer may be able to build a case showing how a victim’s adverse experiences resulted in a diminished earning capacity in adulthood.
Do I need a lawyer to submit a claim against MacLaren Hall?
Submitting a claim for institutional child sexual abuse against Los Angeles County is a complex legal process.
A MacLaren Hall sex abuse victim stands to gain significant compensation, but it requires the experience of a California child sex abuse attorney building a case and negotiating on your behalf.
Attempting to seek compensation without legal representation is unlikely to bring a victim the compensation value they deserve.
What if I can’t afford a California sex abuse lawyer?
Most California sexual abuse lawyers work on a contingency basis. With this payment agreement, a lawyer is paid directly out of the compensation value awarded once the case is complete. An abuse victim’s current financial situation shouldn’t impact their ability to begin working with a lawyer immediately.
Seek Professional Legal Help for You or Your Loved One
If you or a loved one was a victim of sexual abuse at MacLaren Hall.