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Home / physically assaulting

Child abuse lawsuit filed against Azusa-based healthcare agency

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday on behalf of a special needs child who alleges she was assaulted by a man hired to provide her with behavioral therapy, and some of the abuse was captured on a video system installed in her home by her mother.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court lawsuit not only alleges that Azusa-based California Pediatric & Family Services was negligent in its duty to protect its clients from injury at the hands of its workers, but continued to employ Kevin Yuen despite knowing he was a danger to the safety and well-being of its clients. Yuen and the company are both defendants in the suit.

Representatives for California Pediatric & Family Services could not be immediately reached for comment.

The plaintiff, whose first name is Marcela, is a non-verbal 16-year-old girl with Dandy Walker Malformation Syndrome, autism and a brain shunt who had been receiving in-home behavioral therapy through CAL-PEDS. Yuen was Marcela’s behavioral therapist for about eight months when her mother began to notice bruising on her daughter’s neck and back and saw Yuen aggressively grab Marcela’s arms during one of their two-hour behavioral sessions last March, the suit states.

Marcela’s mother also began to see behavioral changes in her daughter, such as flinching, covering her face and hitting herself, when Yuen was in their home, according to the suit.

Concerned about her daughter’s welfare and changed behavior, Marcela’s mother put a hidden video camera in their living room to record interactions between Yuen and the teen, the suit states.

Following a behavioral session last June, Marcela’s mother saw Yuen physically assaulting Marcela via the video, the suit states.

At one point, Yuen and Marcela are sitting on the couch during a behavioral session when he punches her in the face, the suit states. Moments later, Yuen again punches Marcela in the face and checks his fist for any markings, then continues the session as if nothing had happened, according to the suit.

Marcela suffered severe and permanent injuries, the suit alleges.

Yuen was arrested last June and he later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of child endangerment, the suit states. He was sentenced to four years of probation, ordered not to harass or threaten anyone in the case and directed to complete a 52-week child abuse treatment program while refraining from working in childcare while on probation, according to the suit.

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