A former caregiver for Community Choice Unlimited alleges he was fired after he reported that a coworker sexually assaulted a patient, and he is suing the company for discrimination, lost wages and damage to his vehicle.
The lawsuit, filed in Franklin Circuit Court Wednesday, names Eric Acha as plantiff and Louis and Stacey Milligan as defendants. It accuses the health care facility of forcing Acha to quit after he reported that Damon Heath had sexually abused a male patient numerous times, including making the patient perform oral sex in a Wal-Mart restroom. Community Choice Unlimited manages facilities that provide care for intellectually disabled adults in the Frankfort area.
According to the lawsuit, Stacey Milligan is the owner of Community Choice Unlimited and Louis Milligan is the director and oversees the supervisory staff.
Acha, whose primary duties were to oversee and assist patients at the residential health facility with cooking, cleaning, giving medications and other daily activities, was told about the sexual abuse by a patient identified as John Doe on Aug. 14, 2014.
The next day, Acha told CCU Residential Director Randy Drivers about the reported abuse, including Acha witnessing Heath go into the patient's room late at night, but was told "to keep his mouth shut," the lawsuit said.
An investigation was opened, but Heath was allowed to work at the facility where John Doe and another man, identified as James Doe, lived.
An attorney for Acha, Joe Childers, said his client made the reports of sexual abuse in "good faith" and was very "upset about it" when his employers refused to discipline Heath. On Thursday, Stacey Milligan declined to comment about the lawsuit.
According to a news release from the state attorney general's office, Heath was arrested at his home in Frankfort on Feb. 3 on five counts of third-degree sodomy, four counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of knowing abuse of a vulnerable adult. He admitted to investigators that he had sexual contact with the two victims while working as a caregiver for Community Choices Unlimited from April 2013 until January 2015.
Upon the allegations made by Acha, Stacey and Louis Milligan "initiated a practice of retaliation, reprisal and humiliation," including "unwarranted and unfounded reprimands relating to false allegations that (Acha) was not performing his job duties," the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit claims Acha, who worked at the facilities from October 2013 to December 2014, had his hours "drastically reduced by more than half, for the sole purpose of harassment." An employee also reported Acha was drinking alcohol while on the job, which the lawsuit calls "baseless and untrue."
On Nov. 27, 2014, a patient intentionally damaged Acha's vehicle, the suit says. Community Choice Unlimited had a policy to repair damages to employee vehicles if they were damaged by patients. However, Louis Milligan refused to pay for the damages, claiming Acha "did not perform his job well" and was told "if he didn't like it, he should quit," the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, Acha was never reprimanded or told anything negative regarding his job performance at the facility until he reported the sexual abuse.
Because of the "constant harassment ... (Acha) was placed with no other alternative but to leave his employment." According to the suit, due to the harassment and Acha leaving his job, he has suffered economic harm, severe emotional and mental turmoil, humiliation and anxiety.
The lawsuit does not say how much Acha is seeking, but he should be compensated "for all damages he has suffered, including back pay and front pay" and attorney fees.