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Fourth Person Pleads Guilty In Group Home Prostitute Scandal
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 17, 2003

DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA--On May 30, 2002, group home counselors hired a prostitute to "entertain" teenage boys at the home where they worked.

It was the first of two days of sex parties at the home for teens with mental retardation.

The Durham County Sheriff's office started investigating in June after one of the teens talked about the orgies to staff members at Dorothy Dix Hospital.

Last week, Latrina Shagail Battle, 24, pleaded guilty to having sex with the teenagers, ages 13 to 16, in exchange for money.

Battle is the fourth person to plead guilty in the case. She faced more than a dozen counts, including taking indecent liberties with a minor, soliciting second-degree rape and drug-related charges. Battle received a six-month jail sentence and must pay a $500 fine. She received a suspended prison sentence and will remain on supervised probation for five years.

Earlier this month, former group home counselors Eddie Holden and Robert Fuller Garrison, along with Holden's cousin David Thomas Blue, pleaded guilty to hiring Battle to perform sex acts with the teens. All three were given suspended prison terms of 25 to 39 months, a $500 fine and five years probation. Holden and Garrison will each have to serve six months in jail.

Battle told the court she didn't realize the teenagers had mental retardation, that she believed the group home supported "sexually active boys".

The Durham Herald-Sun reported Saturday that the home had been cited by state authorities during the last two years for, among other things, "negligence, stupidity and lack of moral purpose".

The home, which was operated by American Human Services Inc. of Raleigh, has since been shut down by the state.

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