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Details of alleged sexual abuse at Santa Clarita, California’s Camp Kenyon Scudder
A state investigation found widespread abuse and unsafe living conditions at Camp Kenyon Scudder, prompting the board and state prosecutors last year to settle abuse claims.
The settlement required the county to make adjustments to improve safety at two juvenile wards in Sylmar and downtown LA, and 6 youth camps across the county over 4 years.
In addition, the county had to appoint an impartial monitor to monitor whether or not these adjustments are made.
The action cited a feasibility study last year by the county’s Juvenile Justice Realignment Block Grant Subcommittee, which found that Camp Kenyon Scudder was an “unfeasible” site for supervising offenders to Safe Youth – people who want to be housed longer and cannot be housed on the county’s two juvenile halls, which officers say will not be designed for long-term housing.
The board of oversight clashed over whether to repurpose the Santa Clarita facility or the camps, exposing a crack in the board’s efforts to reimagine the county’s aging and widely criticized incarceration system.
As it stands, young Aboriginal offenders who would often be sent to state services are currently housed in the county’s HallSylmar juvenile facility, which has drawn ire from critics and inmates for what they say to be a generally troubled and chaotic atmosphere.
Victims and their families are encouraged to request a free, private case evaluation from a qualified attorney as soon as possible, as victims only have until the end of 2022 to file a valid claim!
Specific instances of sexual abuse allegations in California juvenile detention camps and centers
Los Angeles County alone is one of the nation’s largest juvenile justice systems, with probation officers responsible for protecting 3,000 youths in 21 halls and camps.
The department, operating with a yearly budget of approximately $700 million, has been the subject of various federal investigations in recent years for failing to prevent, report, and document child abuse.
The Los Angeles Times identified the following cases through court documents, law enforcement records, and department sources.
Specific instances of sexual and physical abuse allegations in California group homes and children's centers include:
- A probation officer was captured on tape beating a youth in a juvenile hall recreation room – the officer was later convicted of battery and sentenced to 24 months probation.
The disciplined officer’s attorney said “extenuating circumstances” led to the beating, noting that his client was not properly trained to supervise violent youths.”
- A probation officer was found to have had sexual intercourse with three youths in the laundry, supply, and interview rooms of the detention hall where she worked – she later pled guilty to five counts of felony sexual abuse and was sentenced to four years in prison.
According to the officer, “I had a consensual relationship with a young man who was 17 and I stupidly thought I was in love with…everything else I did was completely inappropriate, unethical and extremely unprofessional.”
- A probation officer instructed five teenagers under her care to beat another teenager – she mistakenly believed a youth inmate had stolen her cellphone and was later sentenced to a year in jail.
The injured child was not allowed to see a doctor until another probation officer noticed his injuries the next day–the officer later found her cellphone in the parking lot.
Filed in December of 2022, a 359-page lawsuit details allegations of systemic failures and horrific scenes of sexual abuse that lawyers say went unchecked by the L.A. County Probation Department, which operates the camps and halls.
The team at Shield Justice Watch believes that every victim of sexual abuse at Camp Kenyon Scudder in Santa Clarita, California, should receive justice and compensation in a court of law – remember that victims only have until the end of 2022 to file a valid claim!
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