Timothy Hill Ranch settles multiple lawsuits following bankruptcy claim

Three out of at least five pending lawsuits against Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch have been settled following the facility’s decision to file for bankruptcy in October, court records show.

The settlements totaled nearly $1.7 million and the three plaintiffs — Andres Ramos, John Gubitosi and John Barci — were awarded $566,666.66 each. Mr. Ramos, Mr. Gubitosi and Mr. Barci were residents of Timothy Hill between the years 1981 and 1995 and claimed that poor supervision at the ranch allowed them to be physically and sexually abused by older boys.

“There are likely so many others who may have had similar experiences in the past and were not willing, able or comfortable to come forward,” said attorney Regina Calcaterra, who has been litigating the cases since 2019. “At least for three clients — who were brave enough to come forward, share what happened to them, really devastated them and adversely impacted their lives for decades — they were strong enough to go up against the Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch and make the public aware of what transpired there.”

The trio of lawsuits were filed against Timothy Hill under the New York Child Victims Act, which temporarily extended the statute of limitations for civil claims by child sexual abuse victims. The new law gave alleged victims one year from Aug. 14, 2019 to file a lawsuit and allowed individuals filing such claims to be up to age 55. That window was extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and expired in 2021. 

Thaddaeus Hill, executive director of Timothy Hill Ranch, filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in October. Debtors who file under Chapter 11, also known as “reorganization bankruptcy,” do so with the intention to keep the business afloat and pay creditors back over time. 

Ms. Calcaterra said another hearing is set for June when the settlement will be finalized. The plaintiffs will receive their full payments within 30 days of the effective date of the reorganization plan, according to court documents.

This bankruptcy filing previously halted further court appearances for the three cases, as well as for two other active lawsuits filed by Jayme Thode and Isaura Estevez. Ms. Estevez has a settlement conference scheduled for July 18, while Ms. Thode’s case is stayed in the pre-trial stage and no future appearance dates have been set.

In a statement, Timothy Hill Children’s Ranch management said they anticipate closure on this matter and emergence from bankruptcy “very soon.”

“We thank God that this process is coming to an end,” the statement read. “We are looking forward to continuing to serve young people facing challenges.”

Cliff Clark, Timothy Hill’s board president, added to this statement and said the settlement allows the Ranch to “once again focus all our resources on the mission of helping transform through love the precious lives of a grossly underserved population.”