Parents of Glenbard South foreign exchange student file wrongful death lawsuit
The parents of a 15-year-old foreign exchange student from Spain have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the Downers Grove family who hosted her friend and the company that arranged the exchange.
In the 15-page lawsuit filed in DuPage County, representatives for the girl's estate allege Francis Emanuele, 38, sexually abused the girl on several occasions and provided her with the dose of methadone that killed her on May 3, 2016.
Emanuele, of the 6000 block of Carpenter Street, is currently free on $1 million bail as he awaits trial on criminal charges related to the lawsuit. He is on home confinement, monitored by a GPS device.
The victim's family is seeking monetary damages, in addition to medical, funeral and burial costs from Francis Emanuele, his wife Daniella Emanuele, and the California-based Council for Educational Travel United States of America.
The lawsuit alleges Daniella Emanuele was negligent for leaving the girl in the care of her husband who "had the propensity to act in a negligent, violent, and sexually explicit manner toward minor children, including (the victim)."
The suit also alleges the Council for Educational Travel had the duty to "supervise, maintain and monitor the condition" of the Emanuele's home as well as their conduct.
Francis Emanuele was arrested on a warrant in October 2016 and charged with drug-induced homicide, manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, aggravated criminal sex abuse of a child, grooming and three counts of possessing child pornography.
Prosecutors said the victim told her host parents in Glen Ellyn that she felt too ill to attend school on May 3 and returned to her bedroom. Early that evening she was found unresponsive and not breathing in her bed.
The girl's host parents immediately called Glen Ellyn police who led the investigation into her death.
Authorities said police searching the girl's bedroom found an oral syringe with a small amount of a clear liquid and a prescription bottle with a small amount of clear liquid that later was determined to be methadone.
Prosecutors said half the label of the prescription bottle had been removed and the missing part later was found in Emanuele's car. Emanuele had a valid prescription for the drug.
Authorities say Emanuele not only supplied the girl with the drug, but also taught her how to ingest it.
Prosecutors said the teen's phone contained more than 1,000 text messages, including nude photos and suggestive messages sent between Emanuele and the teen. They said Emanuele also had lewd pictures of the girl.
The girl apparently met Emanuele because she was friends with another foreign exchange student who was living with Emanuele and his family.
Prosecutors said surveillance cameras captured several instances of Emanuele picking the girl up from school. In addition, they said his cellphone records place him at Glenbard South at the times and days he was seen picking the girl up from the high school.
Emanuele's next court date on the criminal charges is June 6. The wrongful death lawsuit will first be heard on July 30 and then on Oct. 16.