February 14, 2012

Sheriff: Teens at JP juvenile detention center trap employee, 'manhandle' her

2-14-2012 Louisiana:

BRIDGE CITY, La. -- Three teen inmates at the Bridge City Center for Youth trapped an employee inside their dorm and barricaded her inside while "manhandling" her and threatening her with rape, according to the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office.

The three teenagers -- ages 14, 15 and 16 -- will be charged with false imprisonment, battery on a correctional officer, criminal damage and obscenity, according to Sheriff Newell Normand. They will face further punishment by the Juvenile Court system, which Normand described as "cloaked in secrecy."

Normand said on Feb. 6, a 26-year-old woman was working as a juvenile justice specialist at the Bridge City Center for Youth. She was assigned to the Justice Dormitory because two other employees were absent that day. The dorm houses 11 juvenile inmates between 14 to 16 years old.

Normand said the victim started noticing the juvenile inmates becoming rowdy while they were looking at another inmate being detained. At this point one of the inmates said "this is a good time," and within seconds three of the teens began barricading the door and tearing the telephone from the wall, Normand said. They broke a chair and smashed the counselor's radio into the floor.

Normand said because the counselor was locked inside the dorm, at this point the only contact to the outside world was a video recording. It would be 45 minutes to an hour before the victim was rescued.

Over that time the victim, who had just six months experience, was "threatened with rape, rubbed up against and generally manhandled without any way of contacting the outside for help," Normand said. He added that one of the teens also performed sex acts on himself in front of the victim.

"The “specialist” feared for her life knowing that the facility housed many of the worst juvenile offenders, including the ring leader who was being held on attempted murder charges," Normand said.

It wasn't until one of the inmates threw a rug over the dorm camera that another employee noticed what was going on, because the screen had been blacked out. Employees had to force open the dorm door, pushing the barricaded furniture out of the way, before they could rescue the victim.

Normand said while just three of the 11 juvenile were involved in the crimes, the other eight stood by and did nothing, and during the investigation were "incooperative."

The sheriff's office says between January 1, 2010 and September 5, 2011, there were 78 calls for service at the facility involving assault.

Normand said after the three teens were taken into custody, they were returned back to the youth center "at the direction of Judge Ann Murray Keller for security reasons."

Officials with the center issued the following statement:

“This is a disgusting act and we have zero tolerance for this type of behavior. Immediately following the incident, the three offenders were arrested and moved to a more restrictive environment. The female guard was given medical treatment. In order to make sure this never happens again, OJJ swiftly began an internal investigation of the incident utilizing our Investigative Services Team made up of former law enforcement officials.” – Dr. Mary Livers, OJJ Deputy Secretary ..Source.. by WWLTV.com

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