Cumberland Hospital, staff responds to civil lawsuit alleging sexual abuse

Posted at 2:09 PM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 18:49:49-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The New Kent hospital and former staff at the center of a Virginia State Police investigation are responding to a civil lawsuit against them.

Twenty former patients are suing the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescents, its owner Universal Health Services Inc., former medical director, and a former psychotherapist. All have filed motions and responses to serious child abuse and neglect allegations in Richmond Circuit Court.

Dr. Daniel Davidow denies every allegation against him and is demanding strict proof.

Twelve of his former patients claim the former medical director, who left the hospital in February after a CBS 6 investigation into abuse claims, would fraudulently check a female patient’s femoral pulse and place his hand beneath the minor patient’s undergarments and sexually abuse the minor patient by intentionally touching their intimate body parts. Some of the young girls allege that the abuse occurred on multiple occasions.

In his initial response, Herschel “Mickey” Harden, a former psychotherapist who will stand trial in February after being indicted on separate criminal sex charges involving a former female patient at the hospital, admits that on occasion he did hear rumors that Davidow had been accused of inappropriate touching of females during admission examinations, but that the behaviors were investigated and there were no findings against Davidow.

Harden also “vehemently and categorically denies he was ever abusive in any manner with HGB.” After filing his initial answer, Harden retained a lawyer who is seeking to amend the response.

The suit states the former male patient was 11 years old at the time he alleges Harden “physically battered” him by smacking him across the face with an open palm causing him to “fall on the floor” and be injured. In his initial response, Harden documents the child’s medical and family history and states, “he and HGB had a good therapeutic relationship.”

In some of Harden’s responses to the civil suit, he was critical of the hospital, giving examples of keeping patients longer than necessary to keep beds filled for financial gain.

For example, he stated hospital policy would not allow discharges on Fridays because there would be a vacant bed for two days. Harden also stated, “that the lack of staff created a dangerous environment for all parties and staff.”

Harden says he resigned from Cumberland on September 15, 2019, at which time he says he reached out to the Department of Behavior Health & Developmental Services and requested to speak to someone who would investigate his concerns about Cumberland. He says he never heard back.

All of the defendants filed motions to drop and or sever improperly joined parties in the case.

Cumberland’s owner, UHS, has filed motions to dismiss the case against it since UHS headquarters are out of state.

There is no word yet on when a judge will rule on the motions.

The law firm of Breit Cantor filed the multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Cumberland Hospital for Children and Adolescence. Attorney Kevin Biniazan released the following statement Monday.

“The Defendants want to pretend these claims are unrelated, separate issues despite the allegations of systemic wrongs and a pattern of abuse that connects all our clients. Separating these claims would only add insult to injury by forcing our clients to repeatedly relive their traumatic experiences during depositions and trials for each and every case,” said Biniazan.

“UHS has profited year after year for its ownership and operation of Cumberland Hospital in Virginia. To now argue it cannot be sued here, in Virginia, where it has caused so much trauma and injury to children is disingenuous and unjust."