Man sexually abused as child suing Hancock County DHS

The Mississippi Department of Human Services’ Hancock County office in Bay St. Louis.
The Mississippi Department of Human Services’ Hancock County office in Bay St. Louis. wmuller@sunherald.com

A Louisiana man has filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Human Services, his former foster parents and a Hancock County DHS case worker, alleging negligence after he was sexually abused as a child while in DHS custody.

In 1998, DHS took the plaintiff, who was a minor at the time, into state custody. Hancock County DHS worker Celeste Proulx orchestrated the placement, initially placing him in the care of one couple, then arranging for new foster care placement.

She “placed the child into the care of a child predator, David R. Faulkner and his wife Melissa Faulkner,” according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiff was 6-years-old when the sexual abuse began in 1999 and continued until David Faulkner was arrested in 2007. He was later convicted on seven felony counts arising from his abuse of the plaintiff and another foster child who was living with them.

“David R. Faulkner is and was a known pedophile, and subsequently has been convicted by a court in Mississippi of multiple counts of sexual battery of a minor, fondling and sexual assault of a minor, arising in part out of the incidents described herein,” the lawsuit states.

David Faulkner performed sexual acts on both boys and forced the boys to perform sexual acts on each other while he was supposed to be caring for them, according to both the lawsuit and criminal court records.

The lawsuit alleges DHS and its worker, Proulx, “knew or should have known” about the abuse and “took no efforts to stop (it).”

It also alleges, among other things, Proulx and other employees “acted with negligence and gross negligence” by placing the child in the foster care of the Faulkners and failing to effectively supervise the home and conduct background checks.

At the time of the abuse, the Faulkners lived in Hancock County and later moved to Pearl River County. The victim, who is now in his 20s, lives in Louisiana.

Bay St. Louis attorney Edward Gibson is representing the plaintiff.

The lawsuit depicts only one side of the story.

It is Sun Herald policy to not identify victims of sex crimes.

Wesley Muller: 228-896-2322, @WesleySMuller