Legal

Women allege widespread sexual abuse at Los Angeles detention facility

The Associated Press

Twenty women say they were sexually assaulted between the years 1996 and 2008 at a Los Angeles County juvenile detention facility for girls called Camp Scott, the Los Angeles Times reported.

A lawsuit was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court and accused the detention facility of abuse. It alleges that at least 10 staff members at Camp Scott repeatedly sexually assaulted girls detained at the facility, according to the Times.

“The perpetrators used this position of trust and authority to repeatedly sexually abuse juvenile females in their custody, care, control and direction,” the lawsuit states, according to the Times.

The alleged assaults began with staff watching the girls shower and escalated to unwanted touches and then progressed to forced, nonconsensual sex acts, according to the report.

An instance was alleged specifically of a deputy probation officer impregnating a child and another staff member continuing to abuse a girl, even after her release, by meeting her at a motel for sex, reports the Times.

One of the alleged victims says that many girls at the camp were treated as “sexual property” by probation officers and that it wasn’t “really a secret” and everyone knew “what’s going on.” 

It is common for sexual assaults and rapes to go unreported in general. It is estimated that less than 1 in 3 sexual assaults are reported, and only 20 percent of female college students report sexual assault committed against them, according to data from National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) via RAINN

A board member of the LA County Probation Oversight Commission told the Times that he could not comment on any ongoing legal battles or criminal investigations.

Jo Kaplan, a former commissioner on the county probation oversight committee who also is a lawyer with juvenile court experience, said that she had not been aware of the alleged abuse, but described the conditions there as terrible.

“It does not surprise me. The conditions were horrible,” Kaplan told the Times, adding, “The probation department heads at the time allowed children’s lives to be ruined every day.” 

If you or someone you know is struggling after being the victim of sexual assault, you can call 800-656-4673 or chat live with RAINN.org 24.7 for support.

Tags California Department of Justice Juvenile detention Los Angeles RAINN Rape Sexual harassment Violence against children Violence against women

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