Chattanooga migrant facility suing over license suspension following reports of sexual abuse

Tennessee

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WATE) — The Baptiste Group is appealing its license suspension, saying the state has treated their business unfairly after two reports of sexual abuse at a Chattanooga facility that housed migrant children according to WTVC. The group claims the state violated the company’s right to due process.

According to the appeal, the Baptiste Group claims the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services never required them to come up with an action plan or any new policies or procedures after the reports of alleged sexual abuse to children there. Despite this, the group said they worked with the Office of Refugee Resettlement to take corrective measures to improve practices in the wake of the charges of sexual battery by an authority figure. 

Former employees Randi Duarte and Florencia Morales face charges over separate incidents involving teenagers. The Baptiste Group says they do not condone the alleged actions, but that the suspension of the business’ operations based on the allegations “while not doing the same for other agencies with similar incidents demonstrates bias and prejudice towards TBG.”

The Baptiste Group claims other agencies in Tennessee who have had similar violations have not faced similar punishment. They believe that the only difference between it and those other agencies is that the Baptiste Group is a minority-owned business that serves unaccompanied children who primarily come from Central America.

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