Lawsuit alleges improper conduct by Bethlehem treatment center’s director and her husband
When word of Mark Fitzhugh’s alleged behavior reached families of the women between the ages of 18 and 24 who lived in the group home and were being treated there, most pulled clients out of Sovereign Journey and stopped paying the approximately $10,000 per month fees for each woman, effectively killing the business, according to court documents.
Nevertheless, when the plaintiff in the case was “having a difficult day” last summer, Karen Fitzhugh suggested she “go over and talk with her husband, Mark Fitzhugh,” the plaintiffs say in the lawsuit.
Designed to treat young women suffering from emotional disorders that included anxiety, trauma, relationship difficulties and school failure, Sovereign Journey was a $1.2 million federal project that benefited from Housing and Urban Development community block grant money.
The civil action filed by plaintiffs’ attorney Jon Strasburger of Manchester claims negligence and breach of contract, and seeks unspecified damages for the teenager and her family.
Driscoll, in a telephone interview Monday, said neither he nor the Fitzhughs would comment on the case, including a statement in his written response to the suit that acknowledges nearly all families who had women in Sovereign Journey’s programs had pulled them out in recent months.
A spokeswoman at HUD’s Boston office was working late Monday to get information on the large Sovereign Journey grant.
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