Oklahoma was the site of a shocking tragedy involving the death of an infant at the hands of a dentist. In the middle of last year, a Tulsa dentist was accused of the killing of an Oklahoma City baby, Lincoln Lewis. The dentist, Bert Franklin, faced charges after the surfacing of video evidence that revealed he had thrown the infant on the floor and subsequently kicked the baby in the head. Franklin is currently awaiting trial in the Oklahoma County Jail for his crimes. Franklin was a former dentist who had already lost his practice at the time of the killing. He now awaits a trial on charges of first-degree murder.
The Lawsuit Against Franklin
Now, nearly a year later, the infant’s mother, Roxanne Randall, has put together a lawsuit against Franklin and the Victory Christian Center, a church that Franklin was on the board of directors for. Randall claims that Franklin had a history of abusive and violent actions, that the church made efforts to cover up his acts.
The church, however, has reported that these accusations are false, citing a case where they had to report Franklin to DHS. These allegations involved a child reporting Franklin to a teacher at the church’s school several months before the death of Lewis. Victory Christian Center is also a mandatory reporter of any incidents of child abuse or child abuse allegations. In addition, Franklin’s daughter had allegedly reported physically abusive behavior from him, and the lawsuit makes the claim that the church had attempted to cover this up to protect Franklin. According to a community news report, Victory Christian Center has also been sued in the past for negligent behavior. The report stated that the center had covered up an incident of an employee sexually assaulting a child and that the center failed to report the incident to DHS. Victory settled this case in 2013, according to the report.
Roxanne Randall is now seeking at least $75,000 in compensation for claims of wrongful death, gross negligence, assault, battery, and punitive damages.
Criminal and Civil Actions
While Franklin is also currently awaiting criminal charges, it is entirely possible for him to also be named as a defendant in a civil action as well. These are seen as separate legal actions, as one comes from the state for breaking the laws of the state, while the other comes from an individual who was harmed by the actions of the defendant. At times, the evidence from one matter may intersect with the other, as well. Thus, regardless of the outcome of Franklin’s criminal charges, he will still have to deal with the civil lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact the legal professionals at Gilman & Bedigian today.