Court of Appeals Rules DCS Shelter Director Did Not Abuse Child

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Court of Appeals has ruled that the former director of a Morristown youth shelter did not sexually abuse the daughter of a co-worker.
In its opinion, filed on Thursday, the court found insufficient evidence for the state Department of Children’s Services’ determination that shelter director Eddie Davis was a molester. That determination was made despite one counselor’s conclusion the child was lying, a yearlong delay in reporting the abuse claim and what the court said were clearly inconsistent statements by the child, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
According to an account in the court record, in October 2007, the 9-year-old daughter of a part-time employee at the Youth Emergency Shelter read a comic book designed to help children report abuse. She then accused Davis of fondling her.
“(Davis) has an impeccable reputation,” Appellate Judge Charles Susano Jr. wrote in the opinion. “Until the accusation at issue in this appeal, he had never been accused or implicated in any way in the abuse of a child.”
The girl’s mother did not believe the story and had the girl talk with a counselor, who also thought she was lying.
However, a year later, the mother went to the police, saying that she did so because, among other things, she was worried she might lose her adopted daughter or her job as a guidance counselor if she did not report the allegations.
Local prosecutors declined to press charges but the Department of Children’s Services began its own investigation, finding the girls’ claims credible and banning Davis from working with children.
“A person can be branded a pedophile for life based simply on a DCS investigation,” the opinion states.
Davis appealed to an administrative law judge who sided with the agency, but the appeals court found the only evidence against Davis to be a series of inconsistent statements from the girl.
“There were multiple character witnesses that testified on Davis’ behalf to the effect that thousands of children had passed through the shelter and yet there had never been any complaint lodged against Davis in over thirty years of service at Y.E.S.,” the opinion stated. “Further, it is undisputed that at no time while the child was in Davis’ office was the door ever closed or locked … Davis did not tell the child to keep what had happened a secret. The child showed no behavioral changes indicative of abuse.”

Leave a Reply