LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A civil lawsuit filed by lawyers on behalf of Georgetown woman Autumn Janeway details allegations of physical and mental abuse that she says happened to her son at the facility already at the center of a homicide investigation.
In the lawsuit filed on November 18, Janeway claims her 11-year-old was subjected to both emotional and physical abuse while in the care of Bellewood and Brooklawn in Louisville.
It's a facility that serves more than 31,000 Kentuckians annually with mental, behavioral, and developmental health programs. It's the same facility being investigated and sued after 7-year-old Ja'Ceon Terry died while in their care in July. The coroner ruled the cause of his death as positional asphyxia.
His grandfather told LEX 18 in September, he was choked and felt those responsible should be arrested and charged with murder.
"He's seven years old. He couldn't have been too strong for two adults to handle. Instead of putting an arm around his neck and choking him out, there should have been training," said George Terry.
While Janeway's son was not in their therapeutic foster care like Ja'Ceon, he was in the therapeutic residential treatment programs for youth that she voluntarily placed him in.
Her lawsuit makes similar claims against the facility after she discovered bright red circular marks and bruising around the front of the child's neck during an impromptu visit.
The complaint details the child having complained about an employee "being mean." After hearing someone say the words "shut up" while on a phone call with her son, Janeway allegedly tried to investigate on her own. She was told by officials at the facility that they would "look into the situation" and that her concerns would be passed onto their "internal fact-finding process." But then she got another call from her son saying he was choked.
After hearing nothing, she showed up to the facility demanding to see her child. That's when, according to the complaint, she saw the bruising with her own eyes. Janeway says an employee told her the injuries were caused by restraints he was placed in and she did not call the police. There were no police reports or law enforcement statements included about the incident.
Her lawsuit claims she was never contacted by anyone concerning an investigation and that the organization failed to properly hire, train, and supervise employees.
Janeway's son was in the facility from July 2021 to March 2022. Ja'Ceon died in July of 2021.
She is seeking money for medical expenses, physical and emotional pain, and suffering.
When we reached out to Uspiritus, the parent company for Bellewood and Brooklawn, a spokesperson told us they were unable to comment on specific personnel matters and the private health information of individuals mentioned at this time.
Here is the full statement:
"We are unable to comment on specific personnel matters and the private health information of the individuals mentioned at this time. Our focus is caring for all the children we serve. Working with the Commonwealth, we will create a new culture of care for Kentucky's most vulnerable children," said Jarod M. Woods, Uspiritus spokesperson.
Dominique Terry, birth mother of Ja'Ceon Terry, told LEX 18 over the phone she was not aware of this lawsuit but would be looking into it.
According to NBC, the Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services (CHFS) has suspended new foster care placements at Brooklawn.
CHFS, the state agency that oversees youth centers, was unavailable for comment Monday.