Former cadet sues West Virginia National Guard, program for at-risk youth

By KATHY PLUM | The Dominion Post | Published: July 18, 2018

KINGWOOD, W. Va. (Tribune News Service) — A former Mountaineer ChalleNGe Academy cadet is suing the academy and the West Virginia Army National Guard.

Jason Ryan Moorhead, of Bruno, in Logan County, filed the civil suit in Preston County Circuit Court this week.

The ChalleNGe Academy is a free, 22-week residential program at Camp Dawson, Preston County, run by the West Virginia Army National Guard. At risk youths 16 to 18 years old can attend, with the aim of making them, “productive and contributing members of society.”

In a quasi-military setting, the academy is centered around eight core components: Academic excellence, life coping skills, job skills, health and hygiene, responsible citizenship, service to the community, leadership/followership and physical fitness.

According to the suit, Moorhead entered the academy on July 12, 2015, as a juvenile.

On July 15, he suffered a “severe injury” to his right femur when he was, “required to jump from the top bunk when exiting his bed, because he was not given adequate time to exit the bed by any other means.”

The femur is also called the thigh bone.

The next day he allegedly injured his left femur for the same reason.

He was refused medical treatment both days, according to the suit. Then, on July 17, 2015, he was “given a cursory examination by a physician’s assistant, but despite his inability to walk and his complaints of severe pain, no X-rays were ordered.”

His parents were not notified of the injuries, and on July 22, 2015, academy staff phoned his mother to come pick him up for, “failure to participate.” During the interim he :suffered several more days of excruciating pain.”

When his mother arrived, Moorhead was, “lying on a concrete floor, unable to walk.”

The suit asks for an unspecified amount of money for, “compensatory damages, consequential damages, incidental damages, costs, attorney fees, costs associated with the prosecution of this case, pre-judgment interest,” and any other relief the court deems just and proper.

Moorhead is being represented by attorney Karen S. Hatfield of Gilbert, Mingo County.

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