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DIGGING DEEPER: Another victim files a claim against Caring Connections

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Another victim has come forward and filed a claim against Caring Connections in Sierra Vista. It is a center caring for children who've been emotionally and or physically abused.

The Digging Deeper Team told you about the first claim filed back in May.

According to a 24-page court document that was recently filed in Cochise County, the latest victim to come forward was only 11 years old at the time.

He claimed he was molested and threatened by Steven Joel Spurlock, a former employee of Caring Connections who was also a convicted felon. Lynne Cadigan represents the first victim and is now representing the second victim.  

"The mother of this victim saw the news on Channel 4 that Caring Connections hired a man with a known history of molesting children."

The first victim, who is now a teenager, claimed he was kidnapped and molested by Spurlock in 2015.

Spurlock plead guilty the following year and was sentenced to 17 years in prison in 2016.

"The new claim is about a child who wasn't brave enough to come forward and say anything in an interview because he had been threatened by Spurlock," Cadigan said.

According to the new claim, Spurlock remained an employee of Caring Connections four months after the first child was kidnapped and molested.

The court documents showed, "Spurlock was allowed to pick up boys from the public school and take them to Caring Connections. Spurlock tracked down the plaintiff at the school and threatened him."

"Spurlock would come up to him and say, 'You say anything, I know where you live, I know where your bedroom is,'" Cadigan explained. "So, the poor child was terrified and could not say a thing."

The victim's adopted mother did not want to be identified.

She told News 4 Tucson that her son had previously been sexually and physically abused at just three years old. She adopted him when he was nine.

She said the abuse started again when he was at Caring Connections with Spurlock. She said her son doesn't trust anyone.

"When you open the door for someone to help you with your son and you didn't know that that person was abusing him," she said.  

Besides trust issues, "he has a lot of mental issues, anxiety, nightmares; he cannot sleep at night."

He saw our report in May and learned Spurlock was behind bars.

He asked his mother, "Is he going to be in jail for a long time?"

"I said yes," his mother replied. "He's not going to hurt you anymore. Then he started talking and bringing up all the horrible things Joel did to him."  

"It's unfair for the state of Arizona to pay this organization to care for abused children and not take care of them and allow this happen," Cadigan added.

The Digging Deeper team called and emailed Caring Connections about the second claim and has yet to hear back.

After the first claim was filed, News 4 Tucson received the following statement from Shannon Casey, Chief Operating Officer for Caring Connections.

April 1, 2021,

Caring Connections was sorry to learn of the allegations set forth in the civil complaint filed against it.
Caring Connections denies the allegations of wrongdoing and will press forward with its defense of the
Claims in court.

Caring Connections for special needs, Shannon Casey

The victim's mother said her son is continuing therapy. She said she also knows that there are more victims out there and hopes they come forward.

Author Profile Photo

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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