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Teen ate buttons, screws at special needs home on LI: suit

Dangerous conditions at a Long Island nonprofit facility allowed a 15-year-old boy with a rare eating disorder to ingest screws and other dangerous substances, a new lawsuit alleges.

According to the complaint, the nonprofit organization SCO Family of Services, formerly known as St. Christopher Ottilie, committed assault and battery on a special needs teen who required surgery to remove the items. It was filed on behalf of Eva Perez, the boy's anonymous guardian, who is accused of “reckless disregard for his welfare and safety.”

The boy, a ward of the SCO Service Corps, was a resident of the Robert J. McMahon Children's Center and attended school at the Tyree Learning Center in Sea Cliff, but suffered from a mental disorder called pica. , who suffers from a condition in which they compulsively devour non-food items. He also sometimes inserts foreign objects into his body, according to a lawsuit filed in Manhattan Supreme Court.

According to court documents, the boy “regularly” ingested screws as well as other items including bolts, bottle caps and buttons on several occasions since June 2021.

Perez is seeking unspecified damages from the boy, who was allegedly detained for unspecified reasons in July, for medical expenses to remove the items and to treat bruises and cuts, according to court documents. .


A new lawsuit alleges dangerous conditions and negligence at a SCO Family Services facility left a child with a rare eating disorder seriously injured. Google

SCO brought in more than $260 million in revenue last year. tax returnprovides community, family, and homeless services throughout Long Island and New York City.

frequently have pica Occurs with other mental health disorders.

Research on this condition is limited, but some studies indicate that this disorder is present in up to 10% of people with mental illness.

that can be treated It involves treatment and lifestyle and environmental changes, such as correcting nutritional deficiencies.


pile of colorful buttons
Pica is a rare eating disorder in which a person compulsively consumes non-food items. It is usually accompanied by other mental health disorders. Syda Production – Stock.adobe.com

SCO said it cannot comment on ongoing litigation, but that “ensuring the safety of the children in our care is the top priority of the SCO Family of Services and RJMCC.” .

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