The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil,
but because of those who look on and do nothing.

~~~ Albert Einstein

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

For Joan, and all the others

Joan Green was a friendly woman, a mother of six and a Sunday school teacher. She lived in the house where she'd raised her children, the one her and her husband had spent decades in, in Bellefontaine Ohio. She was preparing for what would have been one of the most cherished events of the year- a Christmas with her family. Her family believed that she was safe in her home, and there was never any sign that they should have been concerned.

On December 23, 2006, in a home a few doors down from Joan's, a teenager was reaching his breaking point. Christopher Tindall had been assigned to live in the home- a group home for troubled boys ran by Rick and Mary Burgbacher and overseen by the Logan County Residential Home Board, better known as Logan County Commissioners John Bayliss, Jack Reser and David Knight (by state law commissioners are required to oversee such homes- after being convicted of sexually assaulting a female student at a school he'd previously attended.

The entire story of what happened that night, along with the criminal case that followed, can be found in my archives labeled Christopher Tindall, but to make it short- Tindall walked away from the home, and went on a crime spree that ended with the rape and murder of Joan.

Now, Tindall is serving a 30 years to life sentence for his actions that night... but as of yet- no one else has been held accountable for their failures which lead up to that horrible night. Despite the fact that the residential home he lived in was reported as having 43 violations uncovered in an inspection by the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services which issued the group home license, no one has been sited for their part in those violations.

Hopefully, that will be soon changing:

Survivors of Joan Green are seeking $5 million in damages in federal civil rights lawsuit filed thsi week, claiming Logan County officials were negligent when they placed a convicted juvenile rapist in a residential group home.

Named in the lawsuit were Logan County Family Court Judge Michael E. Brady; family court employee Robert E. Beightler Jr.; and Logan County Commissioners John Bayliss, Jack Reser and David Knight.


In the lawsuit filed in the Columbus location of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, the Green family questions Judge Brady's role as administrator for the group home and Mr. Beightler's lack of training and supervisory skills.

The commissioners failed Mrs. Green by not meeting and acting as the Logan County Residential Home Board as prescribed by state statute.

Mrs. Green's Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated by the county's negligence because they knew Mr. Tindall was a violent offender who continued to be at "high risk" to reoffend, the lawsuit says.

"By the widespread practice so permanent and well-settled as to constitute custom and usage, the policies and actions by (Judge Brady and the commissioners), were deliberately indifferent in training, supervising, disciplining the operations of the group home and/or failed to adopt policies necessary to prevent constitutional violations all of which created a specific danger to Joan M. Green," the lawsuit says.

As always, I send my prayers and thoughts to Joan's family- who have managed to show remarkable strength in dealing with this painful experience, and I sincerely hope that those who could have prevented this are held responsible. Not just for Joan and her family, but for those that could one day be standing in the same situation due to the lack of action by these people.

{More information atBellefontaine Examiner}