- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 15, 2014

Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds has indicated he might sue over negligent treatment of his mentally ill son, who attacked Mr. Deeds before fatally shooting himself last year.

Mr. Deeds’ attorney, Monica Mroz, said Thursday the Bath Democrat served notice on four local governments of a possible lawsuit against the Community Services Board that represents them. She said Mr. Deeds has not yet decided whether to pursue a lawsuit.

“Senator Deeds provided these notices as part of his continued quest to understand what happened to his son,” Ms. Mroz said in a statement.

Austin “Gus” Deeds, who had been suffering from bipolar disorder, was evaluated under an emergency custody order and released on Nov. 18 after no bed could be found for him. The next morning, he attacked his father with a knife before fatally shooting himself.

In the notices sent to local governments, Mr. Deeds said the “negligence and gross negligence” of employees at Rockbridge Area Community Services Board are to blame for what happened. The director of the Rockbridge board did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch first reported the notices, which were delivered to Rockbridge and Bath counties, and the cities of Lexington and Buena Vista. The newspaper also pointed out that notice of a lawsuit must be filed within six months of an incident.

A recently released report from the Office of the State Inspector General found no evidence that a local official contacted 10 facilities in pursuit of a bed for the younger Deeds, as the official claimed, after he was released from a local service center last November.

Investigators said they confirmed that a local Community Services Board evaluator contacted seven of the 10 facilities, but that two of the three outstanding ones the evaluator claimed to have reached out to actually did have bed space available.

The heart-wrenching case drew national headlines and prompted the passage this year of state-level mental health care reform initiatives supported by Mr. Deeds, a one-time Democratic gubernatorial nominee who still bears visible scars from the attack.

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