Meehan’s Father Testifies in YDC Case He Never Saw Abuse

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Daniel Meehan, the father of David Meehan, testified for the state Tuesday in Rockingham Superior Court.


BRENTWOOD – Daniel Meehan never saw any signs that his son, David Meehan, was being abused at home, nor did he ever know his child was getting raped and beaten by state employees. But Daniel Meehan never saw a lot going on in his life, according to his testimony Tuesday in Rockingham Superior Court.

Fighting David Meehan’s landmark lawsuit over physical and sexual abuse he endured while he was locked up in the Sununu Youth Services Center, then called YDC in Manchester, the state called his father, Daniel Meehan as its first witness.

The elder Meehan’s testimony was meant to be a shot at David Meehan’s credibility. David Meehan testified his mother’s abuse caused him to act out and run away, eventually ending up in legal trouble that would send him into state custody, and into the care of brutal and sadistic staff who enjoyed the protection of YDC administrators and the flawed system they operated.

Daniel Meehan, a retired firefighter, initially helped the state when he testified he never saw any indication his son was abused by his now ex-wife, Cindy Meehan.

“I never saw that,” Daniel Meehan said.

Daniel Meehan also testified he and his wife were not smokers, rebutting David Meehan’s claim his mother put her cigarettes out on him. There were never any cigarettes in the home, Daniel Meehan said.

But under cross-examination from David Meehan’s lawyer, David Vicinanzo, Daniel Meehan admitted that he didn’t see a lot that was really going on.

Daniel Meehan testified he regularly worked 12 and 14 hours days when his son was young. Daniel Meehan was focused on becoming a firefighter and building his career, he testified, and that dedication to work left gaps in his life. His wife had multiple affairs for years that Daniel Meehan didn’t know about, one with his best friend.

“You didn’t know everything that was going on at home for a long time,” Vicinanzo said.

When the Meehan family was investigated by the Division for Children, Youth and Families in the 1990s for a report of alleged abuse, Daniel Meehan again did not know what happened. He testified there was some kind of incident between David Meehan and Cindy Meehan.

“She said she slapped him across the face one time,” Daniel Meehan said, while admitting he didn’t really know the truth of what happened.

It’s going to be up to the jury soon to sort out the facts of what happened to David Meehan in the 1990s at YDC, and how responsible the state is for the horrific abuse and aftermath. The case is anticipated to go to the jury on Friday with a relative handful of defense witnesses before closing arguments.

Other witnesses called Tuesday include Department of Health and Human Services attorney Laurie Young who confirmed under cross-examination that key records about alleged abuse were not part of files available to the general public. The investigative report into YDC staffer Brad Asbury’s that alleged hostile and retaliatory actions isn’t in his personnel file, she testified. There’s also no record in Asbury’s file he ever completed training on spotting and stopping child sexual abuse.

Former YDC teacher Marie Sullivan testified she never saw any physical or sexual abuse occur at YDC in her 39 years. Psychologist Eric Mart testified he never saw any serious abuse happening in YDC, and none of the children he evaluated in his time there, including David Meehan, made that kind of disclosure.

“A lot of them didn’t like it very much, but it’s a correctional facility,” Mart said.

Mart does not actually remember seeing David Meehan in YDC, and only realized he evaluated him in the 1990s due to the records since released in the lawsuit.

David Meehan is seeking millions of dollars in damages in the first of at least 1,000 lawsuits from other YDC survivors. If David Meehan is successful holding the state to account for its failure to properly handle the abuse and engaging in a cover up, it sets up a long, painful, and expensive decade in court for the state.

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