Timothy Hill Children's Ranch in Riverhead, seen in 2019.

Timothy Hill Children's Ranch in Riverhead, seen in 2019. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch will pay $1.7 million to settle lawsuits brought by three former residents who alleged they were sexually, physically and emotionally abused at the facility, according to court documents filed this month.

The former residents brought the cases under the Child Victims Act, a 2019 state law that gave child sexual abuse victims an extended window to file lawsuits for damages, no matter how long ago the alleged abuse occurred. The window to file Child Victims Act claims closed in 2021. 

The ranch manages a residential group facility in Riverhead for young people between ages 11 and 24 who have struggled with abuse, neglect, homelessness and addiction using "Christ-centered values,” according to its website. It opened in 1980 and is licensed through the state Office of Children and Family Services, and has residential campuses in Tennessee and Arkansas.

The settlements were revealed in a reorganization plan filed as part of an ongoing bankruptcy proceeding. Timothy Hill, a tax-exempt nonprofit, declared bankruptcy in October, citing more than $4.8 million in debt.

Andres Alexander Ramos, now 41, sued the facility in 2019, alleging he was beaten and raped by several older teens while he stayed there as a 12-year-old. 

John J. Gubitosi and another man also filed lawsuits, alleging they were repeatedly abused by older teenage residents, and that staff “created a culture of lawlessness” through negligent and inadequate supervision. Newsday isn't naming the third plaintiff because he did not want to be identified.

The alleged incidents occurred between 1981 and 1995, according to court documents.

Each man will be paid $566,666.66 within 30 days of the reorganization plan taking effect, the filing said. The plan must first be approved in court, and a hearing date is set for May 16.

Regina Calcaterra, the attorney who represented the three men, said the settlement should have been discussed “much sooner” as her clients continue to grapple with unresolved trauma.

“It takes a lot of courage to come forward and share the most vulnerable thing that ever happened to you,” she said Friday. “It's a long time coming for them to finally resolve this and start healing.”

A fourth plaintiff, a woman, alleged in a 2021 lawsuit filed in Suffolk County Supreme Court that when she was 14, she was raped by a 20-year-old resident at the facility while visiting friends who lived there in 1992. 

Though the outcome of that case is pending, ranch officials said they “believe the claim is worth no more than $50,000” and plan to place that amount in escrow, according to the reorganization plan. 

Jeremy Hellman, an attorney for the woman, did not respond to a request to comment for this story. 

Ranch officials have denied the allegations in all four cases, maintaining that “no staff members were involved or accused in any way,” in a statement provided to Newsday Friday.

Other creditors will be fully paid back under the terms of the plan. 

Timothy Hill filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a form of financial reorganization that allows businesses to stay open while paying creditors back over time. 

In the bankruptcy filing, Timothy Hill reported more than $13.6 million in assets, nearly $12 million of which are from real estate holdings. They include six properties in Riverhead and multifamily properties in Searcy, Arkansas, and Huntington, Massachusetts.

Federal records show the organization received two Paycheck Protection Program pandemic-relief loans totaling $2 million, both of which were forgiven.

Programs and staffing have remained the same and the organization plans to expand services, according to executive director Thaddaeus Hill. The ranch typically has 50 to 55 residents.

“Our faith in God and our commitment to serve others in his name has given us the strength to make it through this challenging time,” Hill said in a statement. “We expect to emerge from bankruptcy in a very strong financial position in a few weeks.”

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