Details emerge in Crossroads civil suit

DOVER — Allegations in a civil lawsuit against a substance-abuse treatment center and its former employee accused of sexually abusing a minor patient outlined a series of concerns raised by a mother about her son’s stay in the program.

According to a lawsuit filed Sept. 18 against Crossroads of Delaware and Rebecca Q. Adams, the mother became suspicious after a May 6 call in which Ms. Adams allegedly said she would not report that her son had failed a drug test due to marijuana use near his 16th birthday.

Rebecca Adams

Rebecca Adams

Ms. Adams, a 30-year-old Dover resident also known as “Ms. Becky,” allegedly said that she would “sweep it under the rug,” the lawsuit claimed.

The mother was alarmed that a drug treatment facility (based in Milford) allegedly would make that claim, the suit contended, and indicated that she would speak up in Kent County Family Court if any false reports were made by Ms. Adams or any other Crossroads of Delaware staff.

According to the lawsuit, the failed urine screen was properly reported at the teenager’s next scheduled court hearing.

Attempts to reach Crossroads of Delaware Executive Director Alberta Crowley, identified as Ms. Adams’ mother in the suit, for comment earlier this week were unsuccessful.

In an earlier interview, Ms. Crowley said Ms. Adams was terminated as concerns of possible sexual abuse arose and she reported them to the state’s child abuse report line.

Former state Rep. Michael Barbieri founded Crossroads of Delaware in 1991 and formerly owned it. Attempts to reach him, now the current state director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health for comment, were unsuccessful.

The suit stated that Crossroads of Delaware holds a contract with the state through the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Family Services “which allows them to operate a facility dealing with adolescent and juveniles who are involved in the Family Court system.”

Earlier this week, Crossroads notified officials it intended to terminate its contract with the state by next month. The state stopped making referrals to Crossroads on Sept. 2 as allegations emerged.

On Wednesday, Republican lawmakers sent a letter to Delaware Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf and Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families Secretary Jennifer Ranji seeking more information on how the state is responding after the civil and criminal allegations against Crossroads.

Names not disclosed

The mother and son’s actual names were not disclosed in the lawsuit and they were referenced as Jane and John Doe to protect the minor’s identity.

The suit ended with, “Plaintiff demands judgment against Defendants … for their special and general damages which they have occurred and will incur in the future, including per-judgment interest, as well as punitive damaged against all Defendants for their grossly negligent, reckless and wanton conduct, in such amount as justice and the nature of the case require, together with interest and costs.”

The plaintiff and his mother first met drug counselor Ms. Adams on April 16 in the Crossroads Milford facility, papers said.

The plaintiff’s mother reported concerns of her son’s alleged treatment while in the Crossroads program to the court, and also claimed she learned of adolescents allegedly allowed to smoke in a Crossroads van, the lawsuit claimed.

The lawsuit claimed the mother believed at the time that the smoking involved cigarettes, but later learned that marijuana allegedly was smoked.

According to the lawsuit, the mother found the court to be unresponsive to her concerns and “accepted the fact that she had to trust those who were charged with the care and treatment of her son, and their various layers of oversight …”

While the lawsuit claimed that the mother was unaware of alleged sexual abuse of her son at the time, she “decided to maintain a watchful eye” as he attended Crossroads.

Charges against counselor

On Aug. 24, Ms. Adams was charged with 12 counts each of fourth-degree rape and sexual abuse of a child by a person of trust, two counts of providing alcohol to a minor and continuous sexual abuse of a child, the Dover Police

Jennifer Ranjij

Jennifer Ranji

Department said when announcing her arrest.

She is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

Ms. Adams appeared in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas on Sept. 4 for a preliminary hearing, and the case was transferred into Superior Court on Sept. 8, according to the Delaware Department of Justice.

No further court dates have been scheduled yet, and no Deputy Attorney General has been assigned to the case.

The suit said Ms. Adams’ last known address was in Greenway Square Apartments in Dover.

According to allegations in the lawsuit, the mother said Ms. Adams began to spend more time with her son “under the guise of expanded treatment and outright false representation” to her.

She claimed Ms. Adams allegedly portrayed the relationship as “trusting and healthy” as her son thrived with her guidance.

The lawsuit referenced the Crossroads daily program as ending at 2:30 p.m., and claimed that by the middle to end of June Ms. Adams was regularly picking up the teen and returning him home between 5 and 6 p.m. According to the suit, she “would then keep him out until later in the evening.”

The plaintiff’s mother claimed that when she questioned Ms. Adams about the routine, the counselor allegedly said her son was joining an Intensive Outpatient Program in which “patients required a greater level of services, also run by and through Crossroads, but their program day was much longer,” the lawsuit read.

All the alleged pickups and drop-offs were conducted in a Crossroads-owned van, the suit contended.

The mother had attempted to get her son into more counseling services, and appealed a decision for her son to attend Crossroads only and discontinue other counseling services he was in, according to the suit.

The “appeal was denied by the Division of Prevention and Behavioral Services, a Division of The Department of Services for Children Youth and Families tasked with State oversight of these facilities, and thereafter Plaintiff John Doe was ordered to attend Crossroads to be his sole provider of rehabilitation, counseling, and support services,” according to the suit.

Wilmington lawyer Andrew C. Dalton filed the lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiff’s family in New Castle County Superior Court.

“The complaint speaks to our position and details what was a profound betrayal of trust on several levels,” he said.

“This facility was tasked with helping a young man in need of guidance, support, and assistance, and unfortunately he got quite the opposite.”

Extra time questioned

The plaintiff’s mother claimed that at a Family Court meeting in June, she asked a Crossroads of Delaware employee about the extra time spent with Ms. Adams lasting until 11 p.m. at times, and allegedly was told she should not be concerned.

The employee allegedly said that entering Crossroads clients into more intensive programs was fairly normal and “well, sometimes they can do that,” the suit read.

According to the suit, that answer was “unsatisfactory” and the mother began to log dates and times her son allegedly was spending in after-program hours with Ms. Adams and the reasons given for the time needed.

The lawsuit claimed the plaintiff was out until 11 p.m. on July 6, and his mother allegedly notified his juvenile probation officer who agreed that it was “weird.”

The officer “agreed to check (her son’s) GPS tracking device, which did indicate that he was at Crossroads and then at a movie theater that night, however, and unfortunately in this case the GPS tracker can only tell where a person is, not what they are doing there,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit described the mother as troubled, with rising suspicion about the times she allegedly had “been lied to regarding her son and Crossroads …”

The mother believed her son’s marijuana use was continuing, despite clean records reported by Crossroads to the court, the suit alleged.

On July 8, according to allegations in the suit, the plaintiff returned home from Crossroads with Ms. Adams “and had an open and clearly visible ‘hickey’ on his neck.”

The mother claimed she asked Ms. Adams about the mark and was told her son “had sexual contact with another client of Crossroads in the van (another minor) when in fact, as was later revealed hickey was from Defendant Adams herself,” the lawsuit charges.

The lawsuit said a GPS check allegedly showed the plaintiff had been at Ms. Adams home for nearly three hours on July 11.

The lawsuit also said the mother began logging days her son spent extra time at odd hours with Ms. Adams, including times when Crossroads was closed and she would arrive unannounced in her personal vehicle on a Sunday to pick up the teen.

The mother alleged her son was “out after hours, for unsatisfactory, or suspicious reasons” on seven times noted in the suit from July 14 through Aug. 13.”

A tip emerges

The mother said she received notice on Aug. 13 of a tip regarding allegations of her son being in a relationship with Ms. Adams, according to the suit; an anonymous tip was called into the DSCYF, the suit claimed.

According to the lawsuit, the youth initially denied any relationship but then confirmed suspicions 24 hours later “with the help of a concerned male figure who he trusted and with the assistance of social workers provided by Dover police.”

The lawsuit alleged that Crossroads executive director Ms. Crowley called the teenager’s mother on Aug. 13 before he had admitted to the reported relationship, and asked the mother “whether or not she believed the abuse had occurred,” papers read.

According to the mother in the lawsuit, she allegedly said she had “no clue” and the conversation ended quickly.

The lawsuit claimed that investigation found that sexual relations allegedly were conducted at the Crossroads facility and in its van in various locations including area parking lots and Ms. Adams’ home.

Also, the lawsuit alleged, investigation found that Ms. Adams took the plaintiff to Delaware beaches and boardwalk among other trips completely unrelated to drug counseling and rehabilitation.

“In fact, not only had (Adams) been sexually abusing Plaintiff, but additionally continued to allow him to consume marijuana and alcohol while under her supervision, and would join him in the consumption,” the suit alleged.

The suit claimed Ms. Adams bought alcohol — referenced as Cherry Vodka in papers — for the teenager on numerous occasions, including when heading to Crossroads in the morning to begin the program.

Also, the lawsuit alleged, Ms. Adams arranged the purchase of marijuana for mutual consumption while using the Crossroads van.

The lawsuit claimed that when drug test urine screens were required at Crossroads, Ms. Adams allegedly would change computer entries reflecting clean samples after hours, often with the plaintiff there.

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Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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