Friday, February 12, 2010

PA: 10.5 Million Settlement in Omega Leach Strangulation Death at Chad Youth Enhancement Center

The family of a Philadelphia teenager who was strangled after being placed in a restraint hold at a Tennessee treatment center has settled a federal lawsuit against the facility for $10.5 million.

The family of Omega "Manny" Leach, 17, agreed to drop claims against the city and its Department of Human Services, which sent the troubled teen to the Chad Youth Enhancement Center despite warnings that it was dangerous.

A key piece of evidence, said family attorney Thomas R. Kline, was a photograph from a surveillance camera showing a Chad mental-health technician with both hands around Leach's neck as he pinned him to the floor.

Tennessee authorities ruled Leach's death a homicide, but the mental-health worker, Randall Rae, has not been charged with a crime.

Rae no longer works at Chad, and Philadelphia stopped sending emotionally troubled children there shortly after Leach's 2007 death.


Chad, now the Oak Plains Academy, has been owned by Universal Health Services Inc., a for-profit company based in King of Prussia, since 2005. Leach's family agreed to drop the suit against UHS.

Daniel Sherry, an attorney for Chad and UHS, said the settlement, which was completed last Friday, did not include an admission of wrongdoing.

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