February 27, 2024

In The News: Five Lawsuits Have Been Filed Against Lord’s Ranch

52 former residents of the Lord’s Ranch youth facility in Arkansas have filed lawsuits against former administrators and employees, alleging sexual and physical abuse. According to the lawsuits, children at the Lord’s Ranch lived in constant fear, facing abuse from staff and other residents. It also alleges that reports of abuse and predatory behavior were ignored by senior staff, and that the abuse was allowed to continue. Defendants include Ted Suhl, Emmett A. Presley, Alonza Jiles, and others associated with the facility. The Lord’s Ranch closed after Ted Suhl’s federal conviction in 2016 for a bribery scheme that increased Medicaid payments to his company. Then, in 2019, his sentence was commuted by former President Donald Trump.

These lawsuits were filed under the Justice for Vulnerable Victims of Sexual Abuse Act, which is currently under review by the Arkansas Court of Appeals. In February 2023, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox threw out a 2022 lawsuit – filed by Attorney Joshua Gillispie on behalf of four men – against James Darrell Nesmith. Nesmith was a Little Rock pediatrician who plead guilty to molesting children at his church in 2018. The 2022 lawsuit alleged Nesmith abused four other men during their teenage years. It was among the initial lawsuits filed under the ‘lookback window’ established by the Justice for Vulnerable Victims of Sexual Abuse Act.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals’ final ruling on the Nesmith appeal will set the course for the future of the Lord’s Ranch lawsuits and any others filed under the Justice for Vulnerable Victims of Sexual Abuse Act. According to Attorney Gillispie, “If the Court of Appeals rules in Nesmith’s favor, all of these cases go away forever.”

You can read more in the superbly written article by Dale Ellis at the Arkansas Democrat Gazette by following the link below.

Read more about this at arkansasonline.com



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Josh Gillispie