Originally created 06/11/02

Feds must step in

Yet another rape has been reported at the Augusta Youth Development Campus, the detention center where teens in trouble go.

This time, two boys wrestled a third one into submission and raped him in a bathroom stall, while officer Alicia McClain stood nearby in the bathroom doorway.

The boy was later found to be bleeding from the anus.

What kind of hellish place are we sending our troubled teens? This is not the first reported rape in the facility this year. Here are other incidences that employees have reported:

A nurse at the facility was found to be having improper relations with an 18-year-old detainee.

Two boys were caught having sex in one of the cottages in March. One boy said he consented because he had been threatened by the other.

A detainee was bitten by a rat on the shoulder.

Children at the "development center" are kept in truly medieval conditions, crowded into cottages with hardened criminals mixed in with merely troubled kids.

The state Department of Juvenile Justice ought to be taken over by the U.S. Justice Department. In 1998, a federal study said there was a "pattern of egregious conditions violating the federal rights of youths."

It's doubtful that the recent rape is an isolated incident, not when there are female monitors assigned to boys' bathroom doors, but who can't venture into the bathrooms to check on the well-being of the detainees.

No one knows how widespread the problem is, but the entire citizenry should be up in arms about conditions that lead to youths being raped while wards of the state.

These kids are supposed to be rehabilitated, not abused. This deplorable situation has gone on long enough. The federal government needs to take over and put an end to it.


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