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Details of alleged sexual abuse at California’s Optimist boy's home
Nearly one hundred times a day, a child in California is placed in foster care or a group home such as the Optimist boy's 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 Optimist boy’s 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.
The abuse at the Turpin home went unnoticed until then-17-year-old Jordan Turpin escaped from the house and called the police.
She told a sheriff’s deputy that her sisters and brothers, who ranged in age from 2 to 29:
- had been starved
- chained to beds
- forced to live in squalor.
Authorities said the children were physically abused, slept during the day, were active a few hours at night, were permitted showers only once a year, and had minimal education.
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.
Operating with a yearly budget of approximately $700 million, the department 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 Optimist boy's 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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