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Legally Reviewed by:

Jonathan Rosenfeld
J.D

February 20, 2023

Over $400 Million worth of case results

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If you or a loved one has been affected by the appalling circumstances surrounding The Lord’s Ranch sexual abuse allegations, understanding your legal options is crucial. These cases bring to light heinous abuses of power and trust that have inflicted deep scars on victims, often for years after the alleged incidents.

The facility, a faith-based organization with objectives including counseling and rehabilitation for troubled youth, licensed by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, faces serious accusations of abuse. If you’ve experienced this, it’s essential to reach out to an experienced lawyer to determine what your options are.

Read on to learn more about The Lord’s Ranch sexual abuse lawsuit, who’s eligible and how to file a lawsuit, as well as the damages that can be recovered.

What Is the Lord’s Ranch Lawsuit About?

The claims against The Lord’s Ranch center on severe allegations of sexual and physical abuse of former residents at the now-closed residential treatment facility in Northeast Arkansas.

The complaint, presented before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is based on accusations of repeated sexual misconduct and physical mistreatment of children by Emmett Presley, the camp’s director of social services.

This legal action highlights a broader systemic failure within the facility, where abuse was not only perpetrated but also condoned through silence and cover-up.

The Lord's Ranch Sexual Abuse Lawsuit and Settlement Information

What Is the Status of the Lord’s Ranch Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

The Lord’s Ranch sexual abuse lawsuit is presently active, and the potential for similar lawsuits has increased due to a new legislative change in Arkansas. This change grants victims of child sexual abuse—like former residents of The Lord’s Ranch—more flexibility to pursue civil litigation beyond what was previously permissible under traditional statute limitations.

Some individuals initiated their claims in November 2023. Further actions took place on January 9th, 2024, when additional complaints were officially lodged on behalf of eight men who alleged extensive and repeated instances of sex abuse during their time at this treatment facility.

With these filings, there are at least 30 reported victims represented through current legal action against The Lord’s Ranch in Warm Springs, with some lawyers calling the situation state-funded sex trafficking.

Who Is Eligible to File a Lord’s Ranch Sexual Abuse Lawsuit?

Anyone who became a victim of sexual assault or abuse while they were a patient/resident at The Lord’s Ranch and was under 18 at the time is eligible to file a lawsuit. Sexual abuse is legally defined as any kind of unwelcome sexual contact made without consent, encompassing actions ranging from fondling and touching to more severe forms such as rape.

How to File a Lawsuit for Sexual Abuse at The Lord’s Ranch

Filing a lawsuit for sexual abuse against The Lord’s Ranch (often referred to as Trinity Behavioral Health) involves a series of critical steps that can substantially affect the outcome of your case.

  • Consult a Lawyer – Our team specializes in handling nationwide cases of sexual abuse. We will guide you through legal proceedings and offer valuable expertise.
  • Document Your Experience – Gather all possible evidence pertaining to the abuse such as dates, places, any interactions with abusers or officials from The Lord’s Ranch/Trinity Behavioral Health, and relevant medical records. This information becomes foundational when filing your claim.
  • File a Civil Complaint for Childhood Sexual Abuse – Your attorney will draft and file a civil complaint against those responsible for the abuse, initiating formal legal action.
  • Discovery Process – Both sides exchange information and evidence. This phase often involves depositions, requests for documents, and interrogatories.
  • Pre-Trial Motions and Settlement Discussions – Your attorney may file motions to shape the legal landscape of your case and attempt to settle out of court before proceeding to trial.
  • Trial – If a settlement cannot be reached, the case will go to trial. A judge or jury will hear the evidence and arrive at a decision regarding responsibility and potential damages.

Each step is critically important in building a strong case for holding abusers accountable for their actions.

How Our Sexual Misconduct Lawyers Can Help

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, our team is dedicated to upholding justice on behalf of individuals who have suffered from abuse. Here’s how we can help:

Providing Confidential Consultations

The compassionate and knowledgeable sexual abuse attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers create a safe setting that allows you to openly discuss your experiences confidentially. We provide an environment where you can understand your potential legal recourse, ensuring privacy and sensitivity towards your case.

Evaluating Claims

We’ll assess the grounds and merits of your claim, examining possible obstacles and evaluating the likelihood of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Gathering Evidence

Our team will provide comprehensive assistance in collecting vital evidence to support your case, helping you obtain medical records, relevant communications, and testimony from witnesses that corroborate your claim.

Filing Lawsuits

We meticulously prepare and file all required legal documentation to initiate legal proceedings, always safeguarding your interests throughout every step of the process.

Negotiating Settlements

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has a team of skilled negotiators who aim to achieve a settlement that compensates for your losses, including pain and suffering. Our attorneys will communicate directly with defense counsel or insurance companies, fighting vigorously on your behalf.

Representing Victims in Court

If your case goes to trial, we provide formidable legal representation. Our courtroom experience plays a crucial role in preparing for litigation and presenting evidence effectively, aiming for favorable outcomes before judges or juries.

Supporting the Survivor

Supporting survivors through the challenges that arise after experiencing sexual abuse is essential for their path to justice and healing. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we understand the profound impact such an ordeal can have on your life and are here to support you beyond just offering legal advice. We will listen to your concerns and connect you to support services when needed.

How Long You Have to File a Lord’s Ranch Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

In 2021, Arkansas took significant steps to provide justice for victims of child sex abuse by altering its laws and joining other states in extending rights for these victims to seek redress through civil claims.

A crucial aspect of this law was the introduction of a two-year window enabling victims to file civil lawsuits against their abusers or the institutions responsible, regardless of when the abuse occurred.

Originally set to expire on January 31, 2024, this deadline was extended by legislative amendment granting additional time until January 31st, 2026, no matter when the abuse occurred at this facility in Warm Springs.

How Much You Can Recover in a Lord’s Ranch Sexual Abuse Settlement

Understanding the possible compensation for a Lord’s Ranch sexual abuse settlement can be complex as there aren’t set, go-to amounts. Each case is unique, and damages awarded are contingent on the specific facts of your situation. Generally, the amount you can recover depends mainly on the following factors:

  • Severity and Duration of Abuse – More severe or sustained abuses often open doors for higher settlements as they typically result in more profound damages.
  • Impact on the Victim – This includes psychological trauma (for example, PTSD, anxiety, depression), physical injuries from abuse, impacts on education and future job prospects as a result of the abuse, effect on intimate relationships and family relationships, and just the overall effect on the victim’s quality of life.
  • Evidence and Corroboration – Corroborating witnesses, medical records certifying physical or psychological damage, and any documentation directly linking misconduct at The Lord’s Ranch with your suffered abuse can play pivotal roles in increasing the value of your claims.
  • Punitive Damages – In cases where the abuse/abuser’s actions were particularly egregious or the organization showed extreme negligence, courts may award punitive damages. These are intended to punish wrongdoers and deter others from committing similar actions.

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC, we understand that assigning a monetary value to the pain and suffering caused by sexual abuse is exceptionally challenging, but we want you to get the compensation you need so you can focus on your recovery and move forward.

The Defendants in This Sexual Abuse Case

The attention in this case is focused on both The Ranch itself and key individuals associated with the treatment facility. The defendants in this case currently include:

The Lord’s Ranch/Trinity Behavioral Health – The Lord’s Ranch opened as a residential treatment facility for children and youth. As an institution, it was responsible for ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents, which it egregiously failed to do.

Ted Suhl, Bud Suhl, and Shirley Suhl – They are the founders who had a duty to establish proper policies and oversight and create safeguards that should have prevented such abuses from occurring on their watch.

Ted Suhl faces accusations both as one of the leaders of The Facility in Warm Springs and individually for committing acts of sexual abuse. As people in top positions within the now-defunct facility, Bud and Shirley Suhl are accused of knowing about the sexual abuse and doing nothing to prevent it.

Emmett A Presley – As the counselor who was also the Director of Social Services at The Lord’s Ranch, Emmet A. Presley held a position where he directly interacted with residents. He is accused of committing countless acts of sexual abuse against minor residents within the treatment facility.

Arkansas has a window to file a sexual abuse lawsuit until 2024

 

About The Lord’s Ranch

The Lord’s Ranch opened in 1976 as a faith-based residential treatment facility aimed at caring for children and teenagers between the ages of 7 and 17.

It was licensed and inspected by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, allowing it to receive Medicaid funds for the services it provided, and was located in the Randolph County community of Warm Springs, just south of the Missouri border.

It portrayed itself as a rehabilitative haven addressing various child and youth issues, including psychological, emotional, and behavioral challenges by providing spiritual guidance. For years, it operated under this mission statement until events unfolded leading to its closure in 2016.

Its closure followed the legal troubles of owner Ted Suhl, who was accused and later convicted of engaging in corrupt practices regarding Medicaid funds. Specifically, he was found guilty of bribing a state official to help increase Medicaid funds to his companies, which included The Lord’s Ranch as well as associated behavioral health services.

Contact Our Sexual Assault Lawyers Today!

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we understand the sensitivity and gravity of these situations and are fully committed to supporting you every step of the way, from the initial consultation through litigation if necessary. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We’re available 24/7 at (888) 424-5757, toll-free.

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