On April 3, 2019, John Nisivaco, a Chicago-based personal injury attorney, filed lawsuits on behalf of 6 women who were sexually abused by, Michael Jacksa, a licensed clinical professional counselor at the Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center in south suburban Lemont, Illinois.  

Statement of John Nisivaco:

The lawsuits I filed today are the first of many lawsuits to be filed on behalf of a growing number of women who suffered sexual abuse at the Timberline Knolls facility that is known for treating such celebrities as Demi Lovato and Kesha.  Timberline Knolls promotes itself as nationally respected facility for women and girls who are struggling with illnesses such as eating disorders, substance abuse and PTSD, in order to help them learn how to cope and care about themselves and their future in a supportive, compassionate environment.  

The women whom I represent are filing these lawsuits because the institution that promised to provide them with a safe and secure environment, instead victimized them.  Over a series of many months, Michael Jacksa committed a wide variety of sexual abuses on these women including for some of the women, sexual assault and rape. 

While my law firm has been retained by six of the women who were victims of the 40-year-old Christian counselor, we have information that indicates there are many more victims.  Given the rampant nature of the abuse, we believe that some of the victims may still be unknown, even to law enforcement.

In a recently filed criminal proceeding, the Cook County State’s Attorney has brought 62 felony charges against Michael Jacksa, including allegations of rape, forced oral sex, digital penetration and fondling above and beneath clothing.  

In contrast to the criminal case, the civil lawsuits filed today seek monetary compensation from Timberline Knolls, not only for the actions of their employee, but also for Timberline’s own negligence for failing to act sooner when it knew or should have known of Jacksa’s inappropriate conduct.  Our lawsuits claim that Timberline Knolls failed to follow proper procedures to ensure the safety of the female residents and detect whether it had a sexual predator working in their treatment center.  Further, the lawsuits allege that Timberline Knolls allowed the abuse to go unchecked for as long as it did by failing to supervise their employee and then waited to remove Jacksa or report the abuse to law enforcement, after it was brought to their attention.

The lawsuit seeks to shed light on the way in which Timberline hired, supervised and retained Jacksa.  Timberline Knolls will now have to answer the question as to how it allowed Michael Jacksa to manipulate its policies, protocols and procedures in order to carry out these horrific acts.  These lawsuits are the first step in the process of uncovering the truth about what Timberline Knolls knew about Michael Jacksa and when they knew it.

The outrageous and extreme abuse of these women has resulted in disabling emotional distress for each of them.  We hope that this lawsuit will hold Timberline Knolls to the 100% accountability to which they profess to hold themselves. Due to the graphic nature of the facts involved in these cases, the lawsuits have been filed in the names of “Jane Doe” in order to protect the identity of the victims.  As such, my clients are not available for further comment.