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Details of alleged sexual abuse at Lake Hughes, California’s Camp William Mendenhall
Dozens of California’s active and closed juvenile camps are accused of the sexual and physical abuse of minor inmates assigned to their facilities.
According to Los Angeles Times reports, more than 11 California probation officers in their massive juvenile system have been convicted of a variety of inappropriate abuses of current or former child inmates in their management–these reports include many cases of molestation or assault of these youths.
Court documents reveal that the principals of these active and closed juvenile camps turned a blind eye to harassment, rape, and sexual assault of minors in the care of probation officers.
One prosecuting attorney revealed that "Vulnerable children often enter the system because of abuse they have suffered at home or on the streets. 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 reports describe the pattern of abuses:
- Officers accused of criminal acts such as theft;
- A variety of other offenses committed while on duty;
- Probation officers encourage fights among juveniles;
- Sexual contact between officers and minor inmates.
Other accusations against supervisors in charge of minors include sexual assault of their underage inmates, as well as allegations of guards’ improper use of pepper spray on the children, as well.
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.
The team at Consumer Justice Action believes that every victim of sexual abuse at Camp William Mendenhall in Lake Hughes, 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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