Catholic youth home granted motion to dismiss in woman's suit over alleged attack

Christina Stueve Feb. 6, 2012, 6:24am



Madison County Chief Judge Ann Callis on Friday granted the defendant's motion to dismiss a case brought by a woman who claimed residents of a Catholic youth home in Alton attacked her.

Callis granted the plaintiff 30 days to file an amended complaint.

Plaintiff Christina Geisen claimed that on Nov. 24, 2009, she was attacked by residents of the youth home while she attempted to enter her home located near the facility.

Catholic Children's Home stated in a document filed Thursday that Illinois law does not impose a legal duty on it to protect the neighborhood near it from children who leave the facility without permission.

Geisen alleged the home was careless in how it secured the center, that it "maintained a facility for juvenile delinquents with complete indifference to the safety of residents in the vicinity," and that it did not protect Alton residents from the youths living at the home.

The children's home responded that Geisen was a victim of a spontaneous assault by three teenagers who were placed at the Catholic Children's Home at the judgment of Illinois social workers.

"Their decision was the official and professional determination that the youth in question were suitable for the program at the Catholic Children's Home, a child-care institution, not a detention center. It cannot legally detain or restrain its residents," according to the document.

"The fact that there have been runaways in the past that may have engaged in improper conduct does not convert the Catholic Children's Home into a detention center."

Geisen is seeking damages in excess of $50,000 in her suit.

John English represents Geisen.

Daniel Farroll and Tara Wiebusch represent the Catholic Children's Home.

The case is Madison case number 11-L-163.

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