Boys Escape Youth Camp, Brutalize Woman

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho (CN) – A camp for troubled youths in Montana let two boys escape and they brutally attacked an elderly woman in Idaho, the woman claims in court.
     Vera Gadman, 66, sued the Phoenix Mountain Cooperative, her attackers Joseph Martin and Marshal Dittrich, and camp director and co-founder Penelope James, in Federal Court.
     Gadman claims the boys told the damp they were going to escape, but it did nothing to prevent it.
     Martin and Dittrich did escape from the Explorations wilderness facility in Trout Creek, Mont., in July 2011, Gadman says in the lawsuit.
     Explorations is a camp for young people with problems of criminal behavior and drug abuse.
     By July 31, the boys, both 17 then, had made it to Sandpoint, Idaho, where Gadman picked them up as they hitchhiked on Highway 200.
     They claimed to be searching for a place to camp. As she showed them a map to help them find one, Gadman claims, they choked and strangled her with a rope, smashed her head with a bottle and with their firsts, stoned her with rocks, and “committ(ed) other acts of violence and terror” upon her, inside her car and out of it.
     Martin and Dittrich were caught and criminally charged. Martin was sentenced on May 2, 2012 to 15 years in prison for the attack, according to the Bonner County Daily Bee. Dittrich was tried in June 2012 and sentenced in September to 10 years, according to the Bee.
     Gadman claims that Martin and Dittrich told defendant James on July 19 and 20 that they planned to escape, but she did nothing to prevent it.
     “Despite having been informed of the escape plan, defendants Penelope James and Phoenix Mountain Collaborative failed to supervise or prevent the escape of defendants Martin and Dittrich,” the complaint states.
     Gadman seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and punitive damages for lost earnings, pain and suffering, and willful, wanton behavior.
     She is represented by James Bendell with The Grupp Law Firm in Coeur d’Alene.

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