For the third time in the past year, an employee entrusted to care for troubled children was charged with sexually molesting them instead.
Timothy T. Carroll, 47, was arrested Aug. 23. The charge of aggravated child molestation involves a 14-year-old girl committed to Lighthouse Care Center. The victim was at the facility because of a suicide attempt over the July 4 weekend, said her father.
“This is the third incident in the past year, that’s not acceptable,” he said. Carroll was suspected of inappropriate contact with two other girls before his daughter was molested, the father said.
“You can’t keep just doing background checks and say that’s enough,” said the father, who is a teacher.
“Lighthouse Care Center of Augusta is committed to providing high quality, compassionate care in a safe, therapeutic environment,” reads a prepared statement from Lighthouse.
While employees are already screened and trained, the center will conduct additional evaluation of recruiting, hiring and training, review all staff and assess existing security measures.
Carroll and Jacey M. Haskell, 23, were immediately fired following an investigation of the allegations against them, according to Lighthouse’s statement. Haskell has been indicted on a charge of sexual assault by a person with supervisory authority over another. He is accused of having a sexual encounter with a teen at the center on Feb. 7.
A third person, Chris Calhoun, 29, had worked at Lighthouse where he met a girl he later molested. He was sentenced July 13 to 10 years in prison followed by 10 years on probation for child molestation.
Assistant District Attorney McKenzie Gray said Calhoun picked up the victim from her Columbia County high school and took her to his home in Richmond County for a sexual encounter.
While the father of Carroll’s alleged victim said that there are a lot of great people at Lighthouse, more needs to be done to ensure the children are safe.
Another father of a teen-age girl wasn’t as forgiving of Lighthouse staff. His daughter went into the center in March. Carroll was one of the staff members who said she had to stay, said Robert Trinidad. She was there for three days and during half that time she was physically sick with a temperature and then the staff said she was good to go. What kind of treatment could she have received in such a short time, Trinidad asked.
When he came to Augusta to pick up his daughter, the staff initially brought him another child, he said.
“You expect that place to be safe for your kid,” Trinidad said. “They’re supposed to help recovery from trauma and then you hear about this.”
The leadership and staff at Lighthouse was shocked and abhorred by the alleged misconduct of the individuals charged, according to the center’s statement. Such conduct will not be tolerated.
Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or firstname.lastname@example.org.