Valley News – NH seeks to dismiss some youth center sexual abuse lawsuits as they make top 100
Posted: 12/08/2021 22:15:05 PM
Modified: 12/08/2021 22:14:39
The number of lawsuits alleging physical or sexual abuse at the New Hampshire Youth Detention Center has risen to more than 100, though the attorney general’s office is seeking to dismiss some that lack details. Over the past two years, more than 430 men and women have laid charges against 150 staff at the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester. The allegations span six decades and 11 former staff members face criminal charges.
A judge dismissed a class action lawsuit in May, leaving only the main plaintiff’s claims intact and sparking a flood of almost identical individual lawsuits against the state and former employees in recent months. Prosecutor Rus Rilee, who represents all of the plaintiffs, filed the 102nd case on Wednesday, a day after State Attorney General John Formella said he wanted two of the earlier claims against the state dismissed .
“Most of these lawsuits are filed with very limited information regarding the claims,” Formella said in a statement. “The state needs to have sufficient information regarding these allegations. “
Plaintiffs can re-file their lawsuits with additional information, Formella said, and the motion to dismiss “should in no way be viewed as a lack of support for victims of crime.”
Rilee, however, said that instead of treating clients with the dignity and respect they deserve, the state is “revictimizing them for telling their stories.”
“The idea that the state does not have enough information to defend these cases is absurd since it is the state which pursues these same employees who beat, raped and tortured these survivors,” he said. declared.
While a division of the attorney general’s office defended the state against prosecution, the criminal division launched a broad investigation into the center and its operations in 2019. Together, the 11 former staff members arrested in April are charged with almost 100 counts of one or the other. sexually assaulting or complicit in the assault of more than a dozen adolescents from 1994 to 2007.
The Manchester facility, formerly known as the Youth Development Center, accommodates children placed in a facility secured by the juvenile justice system. Last year, the average population was just 17 residents supervised by around 90 employees, although it once housed more than 100 young people and employed larger staff.
The current state budget foresees its replacement with a much smaller facility by March 2023.