Long troubled Sequel TSI youth services center to shut down and reopen

Sequel set to reorganize as Brighter Path
Sequel set to reorganize as Brighter Path
Published: May. 2, 2022 at 10:08 PM CDT
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OWENS CROSS ROADS, Ala. (WAFF) - The Sequel TSI facility in Owens Cross Roads will close on Saturday. The same facility will reopen under a new name with new services while an attorney prepares to file another lawsuit against the facility.

Sequel TSI in Owens Cross Roads emailed a statement reading “TSI Owens Cross Roads will be closing on 4/30/22 due to program restructuring and transitioning of service lines.  We have worked successfully with impacted DHR counties to safely and orderly transition the children within our care. We are now in the planning phase of opening a new, state-of-the-art building which will provide new services as Brighter Path Owens Cross Roads.”

Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program staff say the location had unsafe living conditions, staff abuse and neglect, and improper and excessive use of restraints. There are no kids currently held inside the facility.

Owens Cross Roads Sequel TSI’s restructuring as Brighter Path is following a corporate-wide name change according to an affidavit. The parent company legally changed its name from Sequel TSI of Alabama to Brighter Path of Alabama.

Attorney Tommy James says he believes this is just a surface-level change and it won’t impact the quality of services at the facility. Tommy James is an attorney who focuses on troubled youth centers like Sequel. He says 90% of his cases are from Sequel residents.

“There’s a rash of bad publicity as a result of cases of abuse and neglect and then they attempt to rebrand, thinking people will forget about what happened at their facilities under different names the original names,” said James.

James already has three pending lawsuits across the state of Alabama against other Sequel facilities, but now he’s preparing to sue the Sequel facility in Owens Cross Roads.

He’s accusing the staff of breaking a girl’s jaw.

“A staff member threw our client to the ground and our client was face down on the ground,” said James. “The staff member had her knees on her back and had other residents standing on her two hands to keep her down. "

He says other staff members and residents stood by and watched the girl get attacked.

James says company and name changes are causing small problems in his ongoing lawsuits. Sequel TSI in Tuskegee is also transitioning to a different company name as well - Vivant.

According to an affidavit, Viviant leadership is based in Virginia but James says its national headquarters is still in Huntsville Alabama.

“That’s still where compliance is, that’s still where risk management is, that’s the number for corporate headquarters in Huntsville and the number still says Sequel Youth and Family Services,” said James.

He says he will continue to pursue the company for the kids he represents. “They’re playing games: dodge, delay and deny,” said James. “They’re delaying the inevitable because we’re going to hold them accountable for what they’re doing in these facilities.”

Sequel TSI in Owens Cross Roads has not responded for a request for a comment on the abuse case and when they will reopen as Brighter Path.

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