230 Minors, 150 Staffers Implicated In Sexual, Physical Abuse Allegations Spanning 6 Decades At State-Run Detention Center

(Photo by Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty Images)

Bradley Devlin General Assignment & Analysis Reporter
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Allegations of abuse at a state-run youth detention center in New Hampshire date back 60 years, reported the Associated Press (AP) on Monday.

The accusations of physical or sexual abuse involve 230 minors and 150 staff members of the Youth Development Center in Manchester, according to court documents reviewed by the AP. The case began in January of 2020, when three dozen plaintiffs sued New Hampshire alleging abuse at the center from dates ranging from 1982 to 2014, the AP reported.

Rus Rilee, the attorney for those original plaintiffs, now represents 230 individuals who claim they were abused at various points in the youth detention center’s history, according to the AP. Allegations stretch as far back as 1963 to as recent as 2018, and the alleged victims were from 7 to 18 years old at the time of their abuse, the AP reported.

A majority of the accusations involve sexual abuse, with some accusations as heinous as counselors gang-raping children, according to the AP. Children were also forced to sexually abuse each other, Rilee told the AP. (RELATED: VA Doctor Convicted Of Sexually Abusing Patients Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison)

Other allegations of physical abuse accuse staff of choking and beating children until they were unconscious and forcing children to participate in a “fight club” for food, Rilee told the AP.

Some of the individuals who spent time at the center are not literate today because they were held in solitary confinement for extended periods of time and kept out of classrooms, according to the AP.

The lawsuit alleges that supervisors also took part in the abuse, but it remains unclear just how widespread the knowledge of abuse was among the center’s staff, according to the AP.

The Youth Development Center in Manchester, now named the Sununu Youth Services Center, is tasked with providing a secure institutional setting for minors sentenced by the juvenile justice system. Last year, 90 employees were tasked with overseeing 17 residents on average, the AP reported. In the past, the center housed more than 100 children and had a larger staff, according to the AP.