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Details of the New Hampshire youth detention centers (YDCs) involved and the sex abuses reported
The former child residents of the Youth Development Center are suing the state, alleging that between 1960 and 2018, children were beaten, raped, and tortured by state employees–while the stories of abuse have, for decades, stayed largely shielded from public view.
Hints of what went on inside the institution’s red-brick dormitories came in pieces–the rare termination of a problem employee, independent investigations that outlined the center’s disturbing culture but seemed to do little to curb mistreatment.
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.
At least 150 staffers have so far been implicated by alleged victims, according to court filings and attorneys for the plaintiffs.
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.”
Details of the New Hampshire House Bill (HB1677-FN) established to compensate YDC sex abuse victims.
There are a couple of different options for plaintiffs seeking justice and compensation for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of New Hampshire youth detention center employees.
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.
As the House did earlier in the year, the Senate gave its overwhelming support to a bill that would create a $100 million settlement fund for the hundreds of people who’ve claimed they were sexually or physically abused as children while held at the state’s former Youth Development Center.
However, this option has a few caps on claims, including:
- $1.5 million for sexual abuse;
- $150,000 for physical 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 litigation process is described as "a more victim-centered and trauma-informed process than traditional litigation," according to the attorney general's office.
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 Direct Case 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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