A former employee of a nonprofit home for teenage boys who have had multiple failed placements in the Florida foster care system is accused of multiple incidents of sexual abuse.
Police charged Reeghan Lynn Burgess, 30, with six counts of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, authoritative figure soliciting sexual conduct with a student and interference with custody of a minor, according to WINK News.
Crossroads Hope Academy confirmed Burgess was a member of their staff from June 2020 until she was placed on administrative leave on Nov. 30 that year following complaints of misconduct. Burgess was fired from the Punta Gorda-based program on Dec. 2, 2020.
“Our primary responsibility at Crossroads Hope Academy is to keep our kids safe,” a statement published on their Facebook page read.
“In late November, staff brought concerns about Ms Burgess’ behavior toward some of the kids to our attention. We immediately called the Child Abuse Hotline and placed her on administrative leave and subsequently terminated her employment.”
Burgess is currently being held in jail without bond.
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The Academy dedicated to addressing systemic failures claimed to experienced one of its own.
“The Florida Department of Children and Families requires extensive background screening before a potential employee is allowed to work at Crossroads. Nevertheless, we are always diligent in overseeing our staff and monitoring their interactions with our students.”
According to their statement, this is the first alleged issue involving staff members sexually abusing their students in the eight years of operation.
“We are shocked and saddened by the allegations and will cooperate with authorities, and we will continue to put the safety and wellbeing of our kids first.”
The program champions their “unique combination of education, treatment and behavioral services that provide a sense of normalcy for kids whose lives have been anything but normal.”
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