Utah Group Home Companies Found Liable in Child Sex Abuse Lawsuit
In 2008, Matthew Cooper was employed by a Utah company called Northeastern Services (NES), to work at a group home for mentally and behaviorally disabled adults in a residential family neighborhood. NES encouraged children in the neighborhood to interact with group home residents and employees. According to a lawsuit that was later filed, this happened often without parental knowledge or consent. On July 19, 2008, Cooper abused a 4-year-old girl in a bathroom after she and her older sister were invited into the home to watch a movie. Cooper plead guilty to aggravated sex abuse of a child in 2009.
According to the civil lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim, NES failed to do a background check on Cooper, who had previously been fired from another group home for abusing a disabled resident. Cooper also allegedly used methamphetamine and marijuana, but was not required by his employer to submit to drug test.
Following a 5-day jury trial in Cache County, NES was ordered to pay damages of 1.5 million to the now-11-year-old victim.