Lawsuits Claim Widespread Child Abuse At New Hampshire Juvenile Detention Center

According to allegations raised in a recently filed class action lawsuit, a New Hampshire juvenile detention center has allegedly been a haven for physical and sexual abuse of minors.

The complaint was filed earlier this month on behalf of 36 plaintiffs, who claims employees and administrators at the state-run Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester inflicted sexual and physical abuse on children at the facility, or failed to prevent the rampant problems. The lawsuit comes after two employees there were charged with sexually assaulting a teenage boy in the 1990s.

Plaintiffs claim the incidents of abuse occurred between 1982 and 2014, both at the facility and when youths were taken off-campus. All of the plaintiffs were between the ages of 11 and 17 at the time of the abuses and consist of both men and women.

The allegations include physical beatings, rape, emotional abuse, threats and coercion to keep quiet about what happened to them, as well as loss of education and extensive periods of solitary confinement.

In July 2019, two former youth counselors at the state-run facility, Jeffrey Buskey and Steven Murphy, were indicted by a grand jury. Buskey faces 56 indictments of aggravated felonious sexual assault, and Murphy faces 26 indictments of the same crime. The charges come from alleged assaults which occurred at what was then known as the Youth Development Center from October 26, 1997, to September 30, 1998.

Following the indictments, the state Attorney General’s office launched an investigation into activities at the facility. The ongoing probe is focused on personnel employed at the facility between 1990 and 2000, seeking to determine whether additional juveniles suffered physical or sexual abuse.

The juvenile detention center abuse lawsuit claims not only was there a large amount of problems at the facility, but that the abuse continued far beyond 2000, up to 2014 at least, and that employees at the facility actively covered up the activity, turning away young boys and girls who said they had been raped and beaten, and even accusing them of inflicting injuries such as black eyes and swollen genitals on themselves.

The lawsuit names the State of New Hampshire, a number of former and current employees, and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services as defendants.


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