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By BOB WHITE email@example.com RADCLIFF — The family of a sexual assault victim who sought help from Lincoln Trail Behavioral Hospital’s Willows program last year is upset with what they said is an apparent lack of response to seven young patients’ claims of sex abuse by a staff member there. In an attempt to draw attention to the claims, Philpot residents Mark and Sandra Christie plan Saturday to protest in front of the South Wilson Road center what they feel is a lack of prosecution. The Christies thought the worst was behind them last year after their 16-year-old daughter was admitted into the innovative Willows program and their neighbor’s arrest came in connection to their daughter’s assault. But their feelings of progress and justice under way changed drastically after a call from the mental health center in Radcliff. It was Mother’s Day when Sandra Christie took a call as traumatic as the incident that caused their daughter to seek treatment in the first place. “I’d only been home from work about a half-hour when (her) therapist called,” she recalled. The mother said a therapist told her seven girls at the center said they were sexually assaulted by a female staff member. “My daughter was one of them,” Christie said. Her daughter told her of two occasions when a female staffer allegedly touched her “where she shouldn’t have.” One allegedly was during a routine search for contraband at the center. The other time, Christie said, was during a chat with the woman. The Christies said they were angry, alarmed and felt betrayed by a center aimed at helping traumatized and sexually abused girls like their daughter. After receiving the call, they drove more than an hour to retrieve their daughter. “She’s now at home,” Mark Christie said. “She goes to counseling once a week up town and she’s never out of our sight. No more overnights. No more hospitals.” Radcliff Police Department’s Crimes Against Women and Children Unit’s detective Jody Ennis confirmed an ongoing investigation into the sexual abuse claims made by the girls who were patients of the Willows program. Ennis told The News-Enterprise in June she was waiting for the Hardin County Attorney’s Office to decide whether prosecution would be pursued before she files charges against the female staffer accused of the offenses. “It wouldn’t do any good to file charges if they won’t prosecute,” Ennis said. No charges have since been filed. Assistant Hardin County Attorney Jenny Pitts said the claims are “getting attention” at her office. The Christies said they have spoken recently to the Hardin County Attorney’s Office, but were unsure if anything is truly being done. “I kinda feel like they might just be blowing smoke,” Mark Christie said. Citing privacy laws, Lincoln Trail Behavioral Health Systems CEO Chuck Webb has declined comment on the situation altogether. He would not say if the accused staffer had been subject to disciplinary action pending the outcome of the investigation. Webb said the center and the Willows program have in place every safety measure possible for their patients. “It’s a good program and a good hospital,” Webb said. The staffer accused of touching the patients inappropriately is on leave, according to Ennis and the Christies. This is not the first time a staff member with the Willows program has been accused of sexual abuse. In May 2004, a male staffer there was convicted on two misdemeanor sex offenses after a 12-year-old reported sexual abuse. The employee was fired after his conviction. A civil suit against the hospital followed which claimed the hospital tried to handle the matter internally. Sandra Christie said the hospital attempted to handle the recent claims internally as well, but she and her husband are determined not to allow that. They now hope to meet parents of other young female patients allegedly victimized in an effort to push for further investigation and prosecution of the female staffer. At 1 p.m. Saturday the Christies plan to protest the lack of prosecution in front of the center at 3909 S. Wilson Road. “Nobody will tell us who the other parents are. Everyone is trying to sweep this thing under the rug,” Mark Christie said. “I want to make sure every parent with a child there knows what can happen.” Mark and Sandra Christie ask that other families contact them at (270) 233-2878. They hope a collaborative effort will bring more attention to the claims against the staffer and the hospital. “I want to investigate this myself,” Mark Christie said. Daviess County Court Designated Worker Carmen Fleming, whose office referred the Christies to the Willows program, said her office “expressed concern about the (Willows) program” to Lincoln Trail Behavioral Health System officials. “We called them,” Fleming said. Fleming would not say if the Daviess County office continues referring patients to the Willows program, but did confirm that her office contacted Lincoln Trail Behavioral Hospital about the claims, rather than the hospital contacting the CDW. The Willows program not only offers inpatient treatment and counseling for victimized girls and those who are sexually reactive, but also to juvenile offenders, according to the center’s Web site. It is one of only a few centers nationwide treating such conditions. Inpatient care at the Willows program lasts from six months to a year, depending on the level of care needed by a patient. During their stay, most children are allowed only day visits with their parents. “This is a place where they’re supposed to get help,” Mark Christie said. “People need to be aware of this.” Timothy Ray Roberts, the 29-year-old man accused of the initial assault against the Christies’ daughter is scheduled to go to trial in November on multiple counts of third-degree rape and sodomy, being a persistent felony offender and terroristic threatening charges. He’s being held at the Daviess County Detention Center in lieu of a $100,000 bond. Bob White can be reached at (270) 505-1750.