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After $90,000 Settlement for Sexual Abuse of Oregon Juvenile Detainee, Second Suit Filed Against Now-Imprisoned Former Youth Counselor

by Chuck Sharman

On December 30, 2021, a second suit was filed in Oregon state court accusing former state youth worker Frank Milligan of sexually assaulting a juvenile detainee. Milligan, 53, was imprisoned for 30 years in 2001 for sexually abusing and attempting to murder another boy. He received an additional 35-year sentence in 2015 for sexual abuse of a third boy, who filed the first lawsuit in 2014. [See: PLN, Feb. 17, 2016, online.]

The new suit was filed by Portland attorney Matthew M. Sweeney of Brownstein Rask, LLP, on behalf of Frank Nimz, a former Oregon State Hospital (OSH) youth patient who claims OSH and its parent agency at the time, the state Department of Human Services, had “a long-documented history of failing to protect … patients and keep them safe.”

The complaint seeks $3 million in damages for Nimz, who was 16 in the late 1990s when he was committed to OSH and allegedly abused by Milligan, then a psychiatric aide on the youth ward. After Nimz was released from OSH, Milligan allegedly visited his Seaside home and threatened to kill the boy if he reported the abuse. Nimz, who still lives in Seaside, said he suffered emotional injuries from the abuse that eventually led to his homelessness. See: Nimz v. Oregon State Hospital, Cir. Ct. of Ore. (Cty. of Marion), Case No. 22CV00231.

In 2019, the state agreed to pay $90,000 to the victim in the first suit, identified as J.M. He was just ten years old when he arrived at MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, during Milligan’s employment there as a group life coordinator in the 1990s. J.M. said in his suit that Milligan took him to a laundry room and forced him to perform oral sex, telling him afterward that no would believe him if he reported it and, if he did, he would forfeit visitation time with his family. As Milligan allegedly told J.M., “This is what happens to kids in places like this.”

After his release from custody of the state Youth Authority (OYA), J.M. said he repressed memories of Milligan’s sexual abuse until triggered in June 2012 by news of sexual abuse allegations lodged against former Pennsylvania State University Assistant Football Coach Jerry Sandusky. J.M. then filed suit in May 2014 against OYA and several current and former officials, including Milligan.

As part of their October 2019 settlement in the suit, Defendants did not admit any liability or fault, though by then Milligan was criminally charged with J.M.’s abuse, leading to his conviction and additional prison term. J.M. was represented in his suit against OYA by attorney Dennis Steinman of Kell, Alterman & Runstein, LLP, in Portland. See: J.M v. Oregon Youth Auth., Cir. Ct. of Ore. (Cty. of Marion), Case No. 14C15773. 

Additional source: Salem Reporter

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Related legal cases

Nimz v. Oregon State Hospital, Cir. Ct. of Ore. (Cty. of Marion)

J.M v. Oregon Youth Authority