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Details of alleged sexual abuse at California group homes and children centers
A large and growing list of California group homes and children centers have been accused of alleged sexual abuse of the minors in their care.
The Los Angeles Times reports that 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.
According to the court documents filed, supervisors at these group homes and children centers ignored widespread sexual harassment, assault, and rape of child inmates by deputy 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."
News stories and county reports going back nearly 20 years describe:
- Sexual encounters between officers and child inmates;
- Fights among juveniles encouraged by probation officers;
- Criminal accusations against officers for theft; and,
- Other offenses 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 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 group homes and children 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 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 there were “extenuating circumstances” that 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 the next day, when another probation officer noticed his injuries–the officer later found her cellphone in the parking lot.
The team at Consumer Justice Action believes that every victim of sexual abuse at California group homes and children centers 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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