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Victims that suffered sexual abuse while incarcerated at one of New Hampshire’s youth detention centers (YDCs) can seek compensation and justice!

Victims that suffered sexual abuse while incarcerated at one of New Hampshire’s youth detention centers (YDCs) can seek compensation and justice!

Update June 14,2024 State expands eligible abuse for YDC payment, increases settlement caps. Submit Your Claim For Review Today

NH State Broadens Eligible Abuse & Increases Settlement Limits for YDC Compensation

The state has expanded the eligibility for abuse victims to seek compensation from the former Youth Development Center.

The recently passed Senate Bill 591:

  • Broadens the types of abuse eligible for compensation;
  • Increases settlement caps; and,
  • Extends the deadline for submitting claims by six months.

The new legislation also increases the Youth Development Center settlement fund to $160 million to enhance and expand victim compensation, up from claims of sexual and physical assault capped at $1.5 million for sexual assault or a combination of sexual and physical assault and $150,000 for physical abuse alone.

The law includes a new category for "egregious" sexual abuse, defined as "wanton or cruel" abuse exceeding typical experiences, with a cap of $2.5 million. Additionally, a category for "other" abuse has been introduced, covering unlawful restraint, confinement, strip searches, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

A New Hampshire House Bill, designated as HB1677-FN, has established a fund to compensate victims of sex abuse by staff members of the state’s youth detention centers.

The New Hampshire youth detention centers allegedly involved include:

  • Philbrook School
  • Tobey Special Education School
  • State Industrial School
  • Youth Services Center

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More details on the New Hampshire youth detention centers involved in alleged sex abuses

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According to the former child residents of the Youth Development Center that are suing the state of New Hampshire, between 1960 and 2018, incarcerated youths were beaten, raped, and tortured by state staff members–and these stories of abuse have stayed shielded from the public for decades.

Whispers of the happenings inside the institution dormitories came in pieces–problem employees that were rarely terminated, slipshod investigations that might have highlighted the center’s disturbing culture but did very little to curb mistreatment of child teen inmates.

Creating a pattern of mistreatment spanning six decades, more than 500 men and women have come forward with allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of staff members

According to court filings and attorneys for the plaintiffs, at least 150 staffers have so far been implicated by alleged victims.

Experts contend that the breadth of wrongdoing has quietly matched some of the nation’s most shocking and high-profile child sexual abuse scandals.

Many victims depict New Hampshire’s youth detention centers as houses of horrors, with details that include: 

  • Beatings so severe they eventually broke bones;
  • Residents being forced by staff to fight each other for food;
  • Rampant sexual abuse by rogue staffers;
  • Solitary confinement stays that stretched for months; and,
  • Exposure to the kind of violence that leaves lasting psychological damage.

Among those who have bravely come forward include a New Hampshire state representative who revealed in an interview that he was also sexually assaulted by a staff member during his time as a teen at the facility.

According to Cody Belanger, a 27-year-old Republican, who was detained at one of the YDCs at the age of 13, “It was essentially a youth prison–we felt that we weren’t worth anything, that they weren’t even going to bother listening to our concerns.”

More details of the New Hampshire House Bill (HB1677-FN) established for compensating YDC sex abuse victims.

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Victims seeking justice for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of New Hampshire youth detention center employees have a couple of different options for potential compensation.

The New Hampshire State Senate has passed a bill to create a system designed to settle the growing number of youth detention center abuse cases–a bill that would create a $100 million settlement fund for the hundreds of people who’ve claimed they were sexually and/or physically abused as children while incarcerated at the state’s former Youth Development Center.

But this option has a some caps on claims that limit the state’s accountability, including:

  • $150,000 for physical abuse;
  • $1.5 million for sexual abuse; and,
  • the exclusion of emotional abuse.

The bill also stipulates that sex abuse victims cannot file a claim or know what the state of New Hampshire will offer them before they’ve waived their right to file a lawsuit.

The state attorney general’s office has described this litigation process as "a more victim-centered and trauma-informed process than traditional litigation.”

According to a statement released by Attorney General John Formella, "No victim is required to use this process, but it is my hope that this bill will provide an avenue for much-needed healing and compensation for many of these victims.”

"There will still remain a remedy for victims of types of abuse not covered by this bill,” explains a statement by a New Hampshire Department of Justice spokesperson.

“The Attorney General’s Office will retain the ability to settle those claims within the traditional settlement authority the AG is afforded under New Hampshire law.”

The Shield Justice Team urges victims that suffered sexual abuse while incarcerated at one of New Hampshire’s youth detention centers (YDCs) to request a free, private case evaluation for potential compensation and justice!

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