Los Angeles Juvenile Detention Sexual Abuse Allegations Raised in Lawsuit Filed by Hundreds of Former Detainees
Nearly 300 individuals who were previously inmates at Los Angeles County juvenile detention facilities say they faced repeated and rampant sexual abuse from probation and detention officers, some of whom appeared to be serial child predators.
The Los Angeles juvenile detention sexual abuse allegations were detailed in a lawsuit filed in California state court on December 20, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. The 279 plaintiffs listed in the lawsuit include former detainees who relate incidents of abuse dating back to the 1970s.
Facilities where the incidents allegedly took place include two girls’ facilities, Camp Scott and Camp Kenyon Scudder; as well as Challenger Memorial Youth Center, Los Padrinos, Central and Barry J. Nidorf juvenile halls.
Horrific Detention Center Sexual Abuse Problems Reported
The lawsuit tells horrific stories of how incarcerated children, under the care and protection of the state, were repeatedly sexually assaulted, abused, and groomed by detention and parole officers, with some officers being mentioned by numerous survivors.
One former detainee, who was incarcerated in Nidorf in 2004 when he was 17, says he was assaulted regularly by a male and female officer, with the male officer threatening him, and the female officer bringing him gifts and promising to help him get out early.
Juvenile female inmates also reported that probation officers would promise them early release in exchange for sex, or threaten to use their legal power over the girls if they did not have sex with them.
The lawsuit follows two previous complaints filed earlier this year by 70 women who were former inmates of the facilities who recounted extremely similar incidents of sexual abuse.
Detention Center and Boarding School Sexual Abuse
This latest mass lawsuit joins a growing number of allegations filed against detention centers and boarding schools in recent years, where children are left at the mercy of state employees who were often physically or sexually abusive.
Since September 2021, nearly twenty lawsuits have been filed against Missouri’s Agape Boarding School, each indicating that former students were physically abused, tortured, starved, molested and assaulted, which the Missouri State Highway Patrol investigation says appeared to have been standard operating procedures at the private boarding school over a period of nearly 30 years.
On top of the boarding school abuse, lawsuits also accuse the facility of violating the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act, by deceiving parents and concealing information about what was being done to their children. The lawsuits claim parents were told, incorrectly, that Agape did not use corporal punishment, or restraint positions, such as chokeholds, except in brief and extreme circumstances. The students and investigators say that information was false.
A number of lawsuits have also been filed against Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center and Middlesex Adolescent Center in Vermont, which closed in 2020 amid concerns over dangerous conditions and poor treatment of children who resided there.
The lawsuits indicate the children were regularly physically, mentally, and sexually abused by their caregivers, only to be sent to the facility to be physically and sexually assaulted yet again. In addition, many were often confined to isolation cells in the facility’s infamous “North Unit” for days, or even months at a time.
And in 2020, the now-defunct Glen Mills reform school for boys in Pennsylvania was hit with more than a dozen lawsuits by former inmates who claimed they were physically and sexually assaulted by staff, with allegations dating back decades.
The abuse was first uncovered as part of prior investigative reports by the Philadelphia Inquirer, which led Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to propose $5.1 million in new funding for oversite of the state’s residential juvenile programs, which would create more than 100 new staff positions.
State officials investigated and corroborated the newspaper’s findings, and the state revoked all of the school’s licenses on April 8, 2019.
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