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Details of alleged sexual abuse at California’s Masada group home
Nearly one hundred times a day, a child in California is placed in foster care or a group home such as the Masada group home.
Los Angeles County alone has over 33,000 foster youth in care who have experienced abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Too often, however, the children in foster lag behind national standards in relation to the minimal care and protection we strive to achieve for children–youth in foster care often transition into adulthood without the tools and support they need to thrive.
Children in foster care such as Masada group home have experienced abuse, neglect, and other adverse childhood experiences that can negatively impact their health–in fact, half of all kids in foster care have endured four or more adverse childhood experiences.
Now many vulnerable children are largely out of sight, many of them cooped up in crowded apartments, often cared for by parents reeling from job loss and all the other stresses brought on by a pandemic with no discernible end.
The consequences are now rippling across California, which has the highest rate of child poverty in the nation when the cost of living is taken into account, an environment that research shows:
- Put children at an elevated risk of abuse and neglect.
- One in seven children in California is reported to a child abuse hotline by age 5
- At any given time nearly 90,000 children live under the oversight of California’s county-run child protective services agencies.
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's 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 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 Masada group home in 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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