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Molestation Allegations Could Expose County to Civil Liability

March 17, 2014

Police are investigating allegations that an employee of the DeKalb County Juvenile Court molested young boys and, furthermore, that the county retained the employee and allowed him to be alone with children despite the fact that officials were aware of previous allegations made against him.

A DeKalb County police report states that Gerald Brown, who worked as an intake supervisor for the DeKalb Juvenile court, recently “had a little boy in his office and the little boy had his [private part] out.” The report also states that Brown “had touched boys in the past but had not done it recently.”

According to Channel 2 News, others at the Juvenile Court may have known about previous allegations that Brown molested children. The news channel reported that two county employees stated that Chief Justice Desiree Peagler “might have information” about previous allegations against Brown. Channel 2 also reported that there was documentation confirming that others at the Juvenile Court were aware of the previous allegations against Brown.

The investigation is ongoing and police say it could take weeks or months. Pending the outcome of the investigation, Brown has been placed on paid administrative leave.

If the facts in these reports turn out to be true, this could expose the county to civil liability for its negligent retention of Brown following the initial allegations against him. If county officials did, in fact, have knowledge that Brown was alleged to have touched boys in the past, the county could be held liable for any sexual abuse perpetrated by Brown as a result of him not being fired and/or being permitted to be alone with boys in his office at the courthouse. Two critical factors will be how credible the initial allegations were and who was made aware of them.

Thus, the families of these alleged victims will certainly be filing civil lawsuits alleging that the county is responsible for any abuse suffered as a result of allowing their children to be left alone with Brown.

It is also likely that some county officials could be criminally prosecuted if it is determined that they were required to report the initial allegations to DFCS or law enforcement under Georgia’s mandated reporter statute.

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