Juvie Workers Sexually Abused Children for Decades.

Hundreds of Former Detainees Are Suing.
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If you were held in custody as a minor in a state juvenile prison and sexually abused by corrections workers, you may be able to take legal action.

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Juvenile Detention Center Abuse

Juvenile Detention Center Sex Abuse Is a Secret That Has Gone on for Too Long.

On May 6, 2024, 95 men and women (mostly men) who were incarcerated as teens in Illinois state-run correctional facilities joined ranks and sued the state and its watchdog agencies for allowing unspeakable child sex abuse to run wild in Illinois juvenile detention facilities for decades.

Sadly, Illinois is not the only state where underage boys and girls were abused; investigations are also underway in several other states.1

A New Hampshire survivor and whistleblower named David Meehan was awarded $38 million on May 3, 2024, in the largest jury award in a civil personal injury case in New Hampshire history. Jurors found the state’s negligence allowed Meehan to be beaten, raped, and held in solitary confinement as a teen.2

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What to Know About the Investigations.

Plaintiffs in the juvenile detention center abuse lawsuit, now grown to adulthood (the oldest is in his 40s), claim they were isolated in bathrooms, kitchens, or their cells.

According to the lawsuits, the respective states and related government watchdog agencies had been informed of the scale of abuse for decades and still did not implement policies that would protect detained youth from sexual abuse in situations where they were powerless and couldn’t escape.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s office said in May 2024: “This is the tip of the iceberg.”

“I’m shocked by the level of violence and neglect that was taking place in the facility [at Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice]. These are our most vulnerable Oklahomans,” said Colleen McCarty, Executive Director of Oklahoma Appleseed, a nonprofit that advocates for justice and equal opportunity in Oklahoma.

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Child Sexual Abuse Causes Lifelong Psychiatric Distress.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says: “Child sexual abuse (CSA) is significantly associated with a wide range of psychiatric disorders in adulthood. They range from depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and substance abuse to schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder.”3

To force silence, predators either offered perks like going outside in the sunshine for a short time, deprived the minors of primal necessities like food and social interaction, or locked them up in solitary confinement to sleep on concrete without hygiene privileges and no window or very much human contact for days or weeks, according to the ACLU in 2013. Nothing has really changed.

No shortage of government and psychiatric research studies have concluded that the relationship between child sexual abuse and a lifelong psychiatric disorder is nearly guaranteed, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, relationship to the abuser, number of abuse episodes endured, or any other type of sexual abuse that may have been suffered.4

Laying the Groundwork for Improved Oversight.

Although juveniles and juvenile justice agencies that manage the staffing of juvenile detention facilities were clearly included in the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003, inadequate research and the lack of training, funding, and standards regarding sexual abuse of youth in custody have delayed comprehensive efforts to address this issue.5

With an eye to protecting youth, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) was further strengthened in 2012 by the Department of Justice (DOJ) “final standards.” Suddenly, the subject of sex abuse in youth detention centers became a hot button domestically and abroad and a period of extensive media coverage provided awareness to Americans. The concentration of headlines on the topic has flooded news sources since the beginning of 2024.

The federal government’s focus in 2012 then shifted to prison rape and sexual misconduct of guards and custodial staff at state-run juvies. The federal laws became tougher to protect troubled kids who were powerless to defend themselves.

Has any of this helped? In some states, progress has been made toward tighter oversight in youth detainment facilities. Reports of sexual abuse overall, though, have increased since 2017, with non-government groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International documenting known incidents and rumors alike.

Why Should You Let Us Help You?

Our mission is to stop sexual abuse by tackling the problem from the top down. That means using civil lawsuits to go up against the institutions that have turned a blind eye to abuse.

A Case for Justice is an affiliate of A Case for Women. We educate people about their legal options and make the law accessible to men and women who are seeking justice for being hurt. We get it. It takes enormous courage to come forward, but if you do, the results can be game-changing, not only for you personally but for the system that has let abuse go on for too long.

“I want to shed light on what’s going on,” said Jeffery Christian, who is now 36 and works in Illinois transportation and agreed to be named. “I want justice in any form I can get it.”6

So do we. We collaborate with national powerhouse attorneys who work on contingency, meaning you either achieve a positive result in your case, or you owe nothing. For our services, we charge you nothing. Please let us help you.

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  1. Jenna Sundel, “Shocking Sex Abuse Claims Made at Pennsylvania Detention Centers,” Newsweek, May 22, 2024;  and Kathleen E. Carey, “3 former residents of juvenile detention center sue Delaware County, allege sexual abuse,” Daily Times, May 30, 2024; and Lauren Henry, “New lawsuit claims rampant abuse and oversight failures at Tulsa juvenile center,” KTUL/ABC, May 29, 2024
  2. Holly Ramer, “New Hampshire jury finds state liable for abuse at youth detention center and awards victim $38M,” Associated Press, May 3, 2024
  3. Amresh K. Shrivastava, Sagar B. Karia, Sushma S. Sonavane, Avinash A. DeSousa, “Child Sexual Abuse and the Development of Psychiatric Disorders: a neurobiological trajectory of pathgenesis,” NIH/ PubMed, January-June 2017
  4. Morris L. Thigpen, Thomas J. Beauclair, Christopher Innes, Ph.D., Dee Haley, “Addressing Sexual Violence against Youth in Custody,” National Institute of Corrections (NIC), February 2013
  5. Mitch Smith, “Lawsuit Claims Widespread Sex Abuse at Illinois Detention Centers,” New York Times, May 6, 2024