PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A Beaver County care facility and two of its former caretakers are facing four lawsuits alleging the abuse and assault of four people with physical and mental disabilities.
Lawyers filed the lawsuits Friday morning against McGuire Memorial in New Brighton and its former employees, Zachary Dinell and Tyler Smith.
WATCH: Full News Conference On The Filing Of The Lawsuits —
Both men are also facing criminal charges.
Dinell is charged with aggravated assault, neglect of a care-dependent person, endangering the welfare of children, recklessly endangering another person, invasion of privacy and sexual abuse of a child.
Smith faces charges of simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.
The lawsuits allege the four victims were “photographed and filmed as they were being physically and emotionally abused” by the two men.
The alleged incidents happened between 2017 and 2018; however, the lawsuits say the victims’ families didn’t learn of them until “well after it occurred.”
According to a news release from the Robert Peirce and Associates law firm, “The complaints will allege that McGuire Memorial knew of the abuse, or should have known of the abuse, yet allowed it to continue unabated.”
The lawsuits say Beaver County investigators found more than 150 “obscene and disturbing photographs of seven McGuire Memorial residents on Dinell’s phone.” Investigators also said they found “numerous videos” showing the abuse of residents.
The lawsuits allege those videos show one victim being kicked in the face, another being slapped with a plastic toy, Smith jumping on a victim who was lying in bed and another allegedly shows Dinell rubbing “a foreign substance into a resident’s eyes.”
The lawsuit claims another video shows a victim in bed with feces smeared on his chest, face and hands.
According to the lawsuits, one of the victims was just 13-year-old at the time of the alleged abuse. Also, the suits allege the abuse and assault “caused or contributed” to the deaths of two of the victims.
In the summer of 2018, Dinell was accused of raping and taking nude photos of an unconscious woman in his home in Freedom.
Family members of two of the victims filed wrongful death lawsuits.
Nicholas Maravich and Brian Short lived in McGuire on feeding tubes.
“I always loved McGure,” said Catherine Wickline, Maravich’s mother. “But I can’t express the level of betrayal I feel.”
Attorney Robert Pierce believes the actions of Dinell and Smith contributed to their deaths.
“I hope that through the course of this, we get the answers that we seek and hope every night that no other family has to suffer through this,” said Michelle Short, Brian Short’s sister.
Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.