Lawsuit claims psych hospital staff encouraged young patient to attack another

Posted at 5:31 PM, May 01, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-01 19:35:48-04

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. (WXYZ) — A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Wayne County Circuit Court claims that staff at the Walter Reuther Psychiatric Hospital encouraged one young patient to attack another.

The lawsuit is the second to be filed against the facility after the same attorney filed a $100 million claim in February stemming from the initial attack.

Surveillance video from last October shows hospital staff members stepping on a 10-year-old patient’s fingers as slides them under a door.

Moments later, a 15-year-old girl—also a patient—was seen a turn stepping on the boys fingers while staff are nearby.

A staff member is seen opening the door, allowing the 15-year-old to chase the young boy, stomping on him repeatedly until another staff member finally intervenes.

In announcing a new lawsuit, attorney Arnold Reed claims that staff at Walter Reuther Hospital encouraged the 15-year-old patient to act out that day.

“She was used, she was made to be the enforcer,” he said. “She was made to keep people in line and this was by staff.

Though he did not share evidence showing the hospital's complicity today, Reed said it was forthcoming.

“We’ve been conducting an investigation and we’ve talked to people who will back that up,” he said, “who have witnessed it and who will testify to that.”

In addition to a $100 million lawsuit filed earlier this year on behalf of the abuse victim, Reed is now filing a $50 million claim on behalf of the alleged abuser.

Her mother spoke at Wednesday’s press conference.

“Now she is a very different, different kid,” said Mollie Bonter. “She’s very aggressive, very angry. Angry towards our family, angry towards other kids.”

Earlier, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said that an investigation into the attack led to one employee's dismissal, prompted another to resign before they could be dismissed and a third was suspended.

Reed says the young boy suffered brain damage as a result of the attack.

Earlier this year, Michigan State Polices said investigated the case for possible criminal charges, and have since been forwarded it to a prosecutor for review.