Originally created 06/20/02

GBI dismisses rape allegation



The Georgia Bureau of Investigation has ruled an allegation of rape by a 15-year-old boy at the Augusta Youth Development Campus is unfounded.

According to an incident report, a boy in the cottage for short-term detainees confided to a guard May 31 that he had been raped in a bathroom stall. He said two boys, both 15, cornered him, held him down and held his mouth shut. He was later found to be bleeding.

Evidence showed that sex took place with one boy but that it was consensual, said Mike Seigler, special agent in charge of the GBI's Thomson office. Witnesses' statements pointed away from rape.

The teen accused of rape and the teen who made the accusation were placed in lockdown, then moved to separate cottages, said Department of Juvenile Justice spokeswoman Jaci Vickers. The accuser has since been released.

According to the department, there were 109 allegations of sexual assault or sexual battery in Georgia's YDCs in 2001. Thirteen were substantiated. Twenty-five of the allegations last year came from the Augusta YDC, which has a high admissions volume, with two substantiated, Ms. Vickers said.

In March, two boys in the campus's cottage for sex offenders were caught having sex in a supply closet. One of the boys said in a written statement that he allowed the act because the other boy had threatened him and he was scared. The GBI was not called to investigate that incident.

Ms. Vickers said the Augusta YDC is evaluating its operations and training. Facilities work to prevent sexual assaults and encounters through sufficient staffing and supervision, but incidents still occur in Georgia and throughout the country, she said.

"Children are creative, number one, and number two, often take advantage of lapses in juvenile justice systems to do this," she said.

Rick McDevitt, the president of the Georgia Alliance for Children, said sex between juveniles, consensual or not, points to a failure by the department to protect children in state custody.

"If you have two kids having sex at your house, is that OK?" Mr. McDevitt asked. "If DFCS (the Department of Family and Children Services) came to you and said they had a report kids were having sex, would you say, 'That's OK. It was consensual'?"

ASSAULT STATISTICS

The following figures are from the Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice:

  • 109 allegations of sexual assault or sexual battery in Georgia YDCs in 2001; 13 substantiated
  • 25 allegations in Augusta's YDC in 2001; two substantiated
  • Reach Johnny Edwards at (706) 823-3225 or johnny.edwards@augustachronicle.com.