Justice Served: Devereux Behavioral Health Pays $9.2 Million in Damages for Sexual Assault Case

Devereux Behavioral Health, an organization that provides services to individuals with behavioral, developmental, and intellectual disabilities, has paid $9,236,006.56 in damages and litigation expenses to the estate of Tia McGee, who was sexually assaulted by a Devereux employee while a patient at their behavioral health facility in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Tia was just fifteen years old when she was admitted to Devereux’s facility for treatment of sexualized and oppositional behavior, and instead of receiving the help she needed, she suffered further abuse at the hands of a Devereux employee. The employee, Jimmy Singleterry, was later convicted of child molestation, statutory rape, and sex with a person in custody, and was sentenced to twenty years in prison.

After a jury trial in 2019, Devereux was found liable for $5 million in non-economic damages, $2.1 million in attorney fees, and $288,055.03 in other litigation expenses pursuant to Code Section 13-6-11, as well as $250,000 in punitive damages (reduced from $50,000,000.00). The judgment was upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court on appeal.

We commend Tia’s bravery in speaking out and seeking justice, and we extend our deepest condolences to her loved ones. Tia’s passing after the verdict and while the appeal was pending is a reminder of the immense courage it takes to come forward as a survivor of sexual abuse. We honor her memory and stand with all survivors of abuse.

Deitch & Rogers represented Tia as her legal counsel throughout the case, and we are proud to have stood by her and achieved justice for our client. Sexual abuse is a serious problem that can have lifelong consequences for survivors. Institutions must take proactive steps to prevent and respond to instances of abuse, and survivors must have access to the justice they deserve.

We hope that Tia’s bravery will inspire others to come forward and speak out against abuse, and that this verdict will help prevent future abuse. If you or a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse, please contact us to discuss your legal options. We are here to help.