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Details of alleged sexual abuse at active and closed California-based juvenile hall detention facilities
A large number of California’s active and closed juvenile camps are fielding accusations of sexual and physical abuse of the minors in their facilities.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, 11 or more California juvenile probation officers have been convicted of crimes for inappropriate conduct involving current or former child probationers–this includes several cases of molesting or beating youths in their care.
California Juvenile Halls Affected
Los Angeles County Juvenile Hall Facilities
Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall (BJNJH)
Members of the California board that oversees conditions inside adult and juvenile detention facilities statewide voted to sanction the county after inspections revealed persistent problems at the Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar. A memo released on the oversight agency’s website stated that L.A. County was out of compliance with basic safety standards—as recently as two days prior. Staff were found to be improperly deploying physical restraints.
Central Juvenile Hall (aka Eastlake Juvenile Hall, “Central”)
After inspections earlier this year revealed persistent problems at the Central Juvenile Hall in Boyle Heights.the California board that oversees conditions inside adult and juvenile detention facilities statewide voted to sanction the county. Problems included failing to ensure that young people receive adequate health care, failing to monitor psychotropic medications and failing to follow rules about how long to confine teenagers alone in their rooms.
Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall
Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall has. plagued by security issues, low morale among staff, and falling population levels. Opened in 1957, Los Padrinos houses hundreds of boys and girls at any given time with most of the juvenile defendants awaiting court action or transfer to another facility. Los Padrinos has been extensively criticized in the past, including for high incidents of depression among the population and youth suicides. More recently, six detention officers were for assaulting teenage girls with pepper spray.
San Diego Juvenile Hall Facilities
Juvenile Ranch Facility (JRF)
With two primary drug facilities including Rancho del Campo and Rancho del Rayo, the Juvenile Ranch Facility (JRF) features dorms that resemble army barracks in a forest-type setting.
Girl's Rehabilitation Facility (GRF)
Located next to Juvenile Hall and Juvenile Court, the Girls Rehabilitation Facility (GRF) provides services for girls ages 13-18 targeting medium to high-risk girls with clear delinquent offenses.
Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility (KMJDF)
Located in San Diego’s Birdland suburbs, Kearny Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility (KMJDF) has housed youths since 1954 and features a maximum capacity of 359.
East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility (EMJDF)
Located north of Brown Field in Otay Mesa, the East Mesa Juvenile Detention Facility (EMJDF) opened for operation in June 2004 and features a maximum capacity of 290.
Urban Camp (UC)
Located in San Diego’s Birdland suburbs, the Urban Camp (UC) residents fulfill a commitment of between 85 and 120 days within four distinct programs to learn the training and skills necessary for successful rehabilitation.
According to the court documents filed, supervisors at these active and closed juvenile camps ignored unchecked assault, rape, and sexual harassment of child inmates by probation officers.
"Vulnerable children often enter the system because of abuse they have suffered at home or on the streets," said one prosecuting attorney. "The probation system should offer these youthful offenders restorative justice instead of perpetuating their cycle of abuse. The criminal conduct of those who used their positions of authority to sexually assault these children must be exposed. These despicable people and those who enabled them must be held accountable."
Over 20 years of news stories and county reports describe:
- Probation officers encouraging fights among juveniles;
- Sexual contact between officers and minor inmates;
- Officers accused of criminal acts such as theft; and,
- A variety of other offenses committed while on duty.
There have been accusations of sexual assault have been reported by victims against their supposed mentors, as well as criminal charges in connection with guards’ improper use of pepper spray.
Victims and their families are urged to come forward for a free, private case evaluation from a qualified attorney as soon as possible, as victims only have until December 31, 2022, to file a valid claim!
Specific cases of sexual abuse in active and closed California-based juvenile hall detention facilities
As one of the nation’s largest juvenile justice systems, Los Angeles County staffs a population of probation officers responsible for monitoring about 3,000 youths in 21 halls and camps spread out across the state.
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.
According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, the following specific instances of cases have been revealed through a collection of court documents, law enforcement records, and department sources.
Notable examples of sexual and physical abuse allegations in active and closed California-based juvenile hall detention facilities include:
- A female probation officer used her power to persuade five teens under her care to beat another teenager – she mistakenly believed the teen had stolen her mobile phone–she was later sentenced to a year in jail.
The injured child was not allowed to see a doctor until the next day, when another probation officer noticed his injuries–the officer later found her cellphone in the parking lot.
- 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 there were “extenuating circumstances” that led to the beating, noting that his client was not properly trained to supervise violent youths.
- A female probation officer was found to have had sexual encounters with multiple youth offenders in several locations of the detention hall where she worked – after later pleading guilty to five counts of felony sexual abuse, the guard served four years in prison.
The offending officer explained, “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.”
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 active and closed California-based juvenile hall detention facilities should receive justice and compensation in a court of law – keep in mind that eligible victims only have until the end of 2022 to file a valid claim!
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