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Victims of Sexual Abuse in New Jersey Juvenile Detention Facilities Can Seek Justice & Compensation

Victims of Sexual Abuse in New Jersey Juvenile Detention Facilities Can Seek Justice & Compensation

A new lawsuit claims decades of virtually unchecked sexual abuse against boys by counselors and guards employed by New Jersey juvenile detention centers.
These findings indicate that the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission and other facility operators failed to protect youth inmates from sexual abuse and that they may be liable for damages suffered by survivors.

The New Jersey governor renews vows to close a nefarious state detention center where 50 men say they were sexually abused as boys

A lawsuit filed in New Jersey alleges a longstanding "culture of abuse" at a youth detention center, explicitly accusing the staff of virtually unchecked sexual abuse against boys residing at the New Jersey Training School in Monroe Township.

Attorney General Matt Platkin said hours after the lawsuit was filed, the allegations would be “swiftly and thoroughly” investigated.

The suit contends that from the 1970s to the 2010s, officers, counselors, and other staff sexually assaulted boys under their authority.

Among the lawsuit’s allegations are that staff:

  • Conducted illicit strip searches;
  • Carried out violent rapes;
  • Offered bribes to keep the victims silent; and,
  • Threatened punishment if the crimes were reported.

The legal action, brought by 50 men who were former residents, claims that the facility allowed this abusive environment to persist for decades.

The suit outlines disturbing details from the 1970s to the 2010s, including instances of sexual abuse by guards, counselors, and other staff within the facility and its surroundings.

The plaintiffs assert that despite reporting the abuse to various authorities, including parole boards, their complaints were often disregarded or not taken seriously.

The New Jersey Training School, the state's largest such facility, has faced scrutiny in the past, prompting plans for closure in 2018 due to allegations of abuse and racial disparities.

Despite its name, the facility is not only a school but a campus with seven cottages and a vocational building run by the state’s Juvenile Justice Commission.

It currently houses about 200 people, according to the state, and dates to 1867.

Most residents are 16-18, though it houses people committed by courts from ages 12-23.

Closure efforts have stalled as officials search for alternative sites.

The challenge is that the closure would require creating three additional facilities, one each in northern, central, and southern New Jersey, and so far, only two have been set up

The lawsuit, seeking damages and punitive measures, is made possible by a 2019 overhaul of New Jersey's civil statute of limitations on childhood sex abuse claims, allowing victims to sue until age 55 or within seven years of realizing the harm caused by the abuse.

A similar law in New Hampshire enabled more than 1,000 men and women to raise allegations of abuse at a state detention center there.

The legal action aims to shed light on systemic failures and advocates for reform in how New Jersey handles juvenile cases.

If you were sexually abused while incarcerated at a juvenile detention center in New Jersey, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and a financial recovery of your damages.

We believe all victims of New Jersey detention centers should receive justice and potential compensation beginning with a free, private case review with our experienced legal team.

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