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11 May, 2009 06:17

Orphaned kids sue their principal for mental abuse

Orphans in Central Russia are suing their principal, claiming to have been frequently mentally abused. The alleged offenders have responded with a counter-claim, saying the accusations are slander.

Children in orphan houses haven't had too much luck in their lives. They come from broken homes and troubled families. But children from the orphanage in Kimovsk in the Tula region say their current life in care is even worse.

Teen-age orphan Yasha Lavrov claims he has been physically abused and sent to a mental home twice for nothing worse than minor misbehavior. He says he was given drugs meant to calm him down, and says they have now damaged his health.

“I was upset after breaking up with my girlfriend and slammed the closet door. The next day they told me to pack up. I was given injections every day three times a day for a month and a half,” states Yasha.

He says he believes he will suffer from the stigma of mental illness in the future.

Yasha’s story is repeated by others at the same children's home. One of them, Ksyusha, wants the Principal punished.

“Being sent to a mental institution is the worst thing that has happened to me. I was given injections and pills there, I wanted to sleep all the time. They sent me there because I ran away, " says Ksyusha.

RT put these complaints to the principal, Igor Karpenko. But he denied any wrongdoing, and called all the allegations slander, although he seemed less sure about his ability to do the job.

"Considering these latest developments, I am not ready to answer the question of whether or not I am a good guardian. When these sorts of reports begin surfacing, you begin to doubt yourself," says Karpenko.

One of the people working with the children had allegedly been imprisoned for murder for ten years. But he denies this, and believes it's all part of a plot by one of the charity funds working with the children to replace the principal. But those charities say they just want to help the kids.

"They have changed, they are afraid. They are afraid of everything – the principal – they worry he will send them to the mental institution again. To make them lose will power, they are forced to take drugs there. The principal wants them scared! If they are afraid and keep quiet, he doesn't have to take care of them!" said charity worker Galina Kharitonova.

While the children, with the help of a charity fund, are suing for abuse, the principal and his colleagues are doing the same – for slander.

The orphaned childrens’ future will be determined after an official investigation takes place, and some say they are counting on it as their last hope.