Parents file civil suit in sex abuse case at former Westminster child care site

Convicted child molester faces related criminal charges

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July 23, 2005|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

Four families are seeking millions of dollars in damages in civil lawsuits filed against the owners and operators of a former Westminster child care center and a convicted child molester once employed there.

The lawsuits filed this week in Carroll County Circuit Court accuse James Allen Gregory, 60, of sexually abusing four children, ages 13 months to 4 years, at the Westminster branch of the Rainbows and Reasons child care center in 2002 and 2003. Also named as defendants in both lawsuits are the Rainbows and Reasons corporation in Finksburg, Director Christine Blubaugh and Executive Director William Cunningham.

The fourth defendant in the lawsuits is Gregory, who is being held without bail at the Carroll County Detention Center on eight criminal charges, including second-degree rape, sex offenses and child abuse. Gregory is accused in a criminal suit of sexually abusing two girls, then 3, and raping one of them. The girls are among the four alleged victims in the civil case.

The lawsuits claim that the incidents occurred while he was employed part time as a computer technician and handyman at the center, according to the suits.

The Sun does not disclose the names of victims of abuse.

The civil lawsuits seek damages on behalf of the children, ranging from $25,000 to $6 million on various counts, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract, and negligence by the center, and states that its officials knew or should have known that Gregory was an alcoholic with a history of abusing children. The officials named could not be reached to comment.

The Westminster center, in the 2100 block of Sykesville Road, had its license suspended in 2003 after a hearing and ruling by an administrative law judge. It was later closed and sold. No criminal charges have been filed against any of its officials.

Beginning in 1990, Gregory served two years in jail in Washington state on a conviction for child molestation, according to officials and court files in the criminal case.

He was five months into a court-ordered, yearlong supervised community placement when he left, disappearing for 10 years until he resurfaced in Maryland in the 2003 investigation.

According to court records, a Maryland state police investigator said that in a 2003 statement, Gregory claimed to have molested 30 to 40 children in his life, including three girls in Maryland.

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