August 31, 2006
Five former employees of a Charlottesville mental health treatment center have been indicted on sexual abuse charges. This comes just a few months after the state threatened to shut down Whisper Ridge for multiple violations. Charlottesville Police said this is the biggest investigation that they have ever taken on. It took months to interview witnesses and go through hundreds of files, and it still may not be over.
"It was an anonymous call, maybe someone that was employed at Whisper Ridge saying that they have observed or had knowledge of some incidents that were occurring between staff and residents," said Captain Chip Harding, of the Charlottesville Police Department.
After a six-month investigation Charlottesville Police indicted five former employees of the mental health facility for teenagers.
The Director of Operations, Bianca Johnson, and Bryan Vaughn, a former mental health specialist at the facility were indicted on August 21st.
Investigators found a graphic sexual note that Johnson had written to a male resident and charged her with sexual misconduct. Vaughn is charged with two counts of sexual contact with underage female residents.
"Two of those individuals have been taken into custody and [are] now released on bond," said Captain Harding.
As for the three other former employees who were indicted, Charlottesville Police said they do not live in the area and have not been arrested yet. However, this may not be the end of the charges or indictments.
"There are some other allegations that we didn't feel like we had enough evidence to move forward on. It may be as you go through this whole court process that there are some supportive evidence that comes in that would bring it to the standard necessary, in order for it to move forward," said Captain Harding.
This isn't the first time Whisper Ridge has been in trouble with the law. Back in June, the state threatened to revoke their license after they found multiple operating violations.
Since then the facility has signed a one-year consent agreement, saying they would pay $30,000 in fines and provide more employee training.
Both Whisper Ridge and Vaughn did not want to comment about this case. Johnson could not be reached.
If convicted, Vaughn could face up to 10 years in prison and Johnson could face up to five years.