Amy Anderson Wins Seminal Reporting Act case

Plaintiffs were four minors who were allegedly sexually abused by another minor residing in their apartment complex. Plaintiffs brought suit against the offending minor and his custodial and non-custodial (divorced) parents, alleging negligence and intentional torts. The plaintiffs also sued North Central Behavioral Health Systems, Inc., a psychological counseling center at which the offending minor received counseling. Plaintiffs alleged that North Central knew that the minor had sexually abused other children in the apartment building, and that North Central knew or reasonably should have known that the minor was a sexual predator who was likely to sexually abuse other children in the future. Plaintiffs alleged that North Central had a duty to report the sexual abuse of the other children in the apartment complex to DCFS or other authorities under both the Illinois Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act and the common law, notwithstanding the fact that North Central was not alleged to have known the specific names or identities of the children who were allegedly abused.

The Circuit Court of LaSalle County granted North Central’s motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a cause of action. The Illinois Appellate Court, Third District, affirmed. In a case of first impression, the court held that there is no private right of action under the Reporting Act for victims of abuse or neglect against persons who allegedly fail to comply with the Act’s reporting requirements. The court further held that plaintiffs could not establish a duty to report under either the statute or the common law under the facts presented. The Illinois Supreme Court denied leave to appeal.

The case is Doe v. North Central Behavioral Health Systems, Inc., No. 3-03-0317. Amy Anderson wrote and argued the motions to dismiss in the trial court.