Family sues Great America over attack at park

  • A Batavia family has filed a lawsuit against Six Flags Great America, alleging park employees failed to help them when they were attacked by a group of teens at the Gurnee theme park in September.

    A Batavia family has filed a lawsuit against Six Flags Great America, alleging park employees failed to help them when they were attacked by a group of teens at the Gurnee theme park in September. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Gregory Battle

    Gregory Battle

 
 
Updated 11/21/2017 7:59 PM

Members of a Batavia family are suing Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, claiming the theme park failed to shield their child with disabilities from a possible sexual predator and did not intervene when they were attacked by a group of teens during a visit to the theme park's Fright Fest.

The lawsuit claims the victims repeatedly called for help but were ignored by Great America employees before and during the Sept. 23 attack.

 

According to the three-count complaint filed in Cook County circuit court, the family suffered "severe and permanent physical, emotional and psychological injuries" during the attack. They are seeking more than $50,000 in damages for each count.

Tess Claussen, spokeswoman for Six Flags Great America, would not comment Tuesday on pending litigation.

The family members are identified in the lawsuit as John Doe, Jane Doe and minor James Doe. Court documents state the family asked to remain anonymous because James Doe suffers from a disability, the injuries sustained are highly personal, and the teens involved in the attack are from an organized street gang.

According to the lawsuit, the family was visiting the theme park's Southwest Territory when the child and his friend were approached by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts claiming he was park security. The man ordered the children to follow him, luring them away from the more popular walkways of the park, the lawsuit states.

Jane Doe saw the man speaking with the children, and asked for his identification, the suit states. The man attempted to show false credentials, then walked away, according to the suit.

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Jane Doe called out for security, believing her child was almost "lured away by a sexual predator," but she was ignored by numerous Great America employees, the suit states.

After following the person for a significant amount of time, the woman heard a second person shout expletives in her direction, calling her a "snitch," the court complaint reads.

She turned to see "approximately 20 young female and male youths" standing in a large group, approaching her "menacingly."

One of the teens punched James Doe in the face, while a second teen hit him in the head and neck, the suit reads. John Doe attempted to help his son but was "viciously attacked" by the teens, prompting the mother and son to "watch in horror as this gang of youths appeared to be beating and kicking John to death," the suit states

Other park visitors called for park security during the "lengthy assault," but employees "did nothing to intervene to protect the plaintiffs," according to the lawsuit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Gurnee police later arrested nine teens as they left the park.

Eight of them -- ranging from 15 to 17 years old -- were charged in juvenile court with mob action.

One adult, Gregory Battle, 18, of Waukegan, faces multiple charges of aggravated battery.

He is free on bond and due in court Dec. 7.

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