Fired YDC counselor had "inappropriate relationship" with a juvenile, termination letter says

 

One of the five people fired Friday from the Augusta Youth Development Campus after an inmate was killed last month was let go because of an inappropriate relationship with one of the juveniles, according to her termination letter.

Sharon Taylor, who was a counselor at the YDC, was fired based on her relationship with a youth identified as S.S. “while he was under the care and custody of the Department of Juvenile Justice and after his release from the facility,” the letter said.

The communications director for DJJ, Emily Gest, declined to comment on the specifics of the relationship.

Christopher Cann, who was a corrections officer at the facility, was dismissed based on his failure to retrieve contraband from youths under his supervision and report the contraband to his supervisor, his letter said.

Natasha Neely, who was also a corrections officer, was fired because of misconduct. Her termination letter went on to say she violated DJJ policy when she “observed a serious violation of the contraband policy and failed to immediately report the incident to (her) supervisors.”

Gest declined to comment on the contraband involved.

Each employee will be paid for all accrued and unused annual leave, Fair Labor Standards Act compensatory time and holidays, and were offered their accrued retirement funds, according to their termination letters.

Former Assistant Director Lawrence P. Cloutier’s termination letter stated that his dismissal was the result of “the Department’s loss of confidence in your leadership abilities.” It went on to say that because of his long service, the DJJ was offering him a new position as a juvenile counselor at the Regional Youth Development Campus in Sandersville.

Kendra Stowbridge, also an assistant director at the time, was fired because of loss of confidence in her leadership abilities, according to her termination letter, and was offered a position as a juvenile corrections lieutenant at the Augusta RYDC.

Both Stowbridge and Cloutier accepted the new positions at 90 percent of what they were making as assistant directors. They started Monday, Gest said.

The firings occurred Friday in the midst of a Georgia Bureau of Investigation probe into the November death of Jade Holder, 19. Holder was beaten to death in his cell.

All five letters were signed by Gary Jones, the interim director and the chief of police of Sardis, Ga.

 

Sharon Taylor's termination letter
Christopher Cann's termination letter
Natasha Neely's termination letter
Lawrence P. Cloutier's termination letter
Kendra Stowbridge's termination letter

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