A lawsuit filed on Monday accused Illinois of allowing state workers to systematically abuse juvenile prisoners for decades, the latest in a series of legal cases across the country to assert that youth correctional facilities had long failed to prevent pervasive sexual misconduct by employees.

The Illinois lawsuit, filed in the State Court of Claims by more than 90 former juvenile inmates, described guards sexually abusing teenagers in their cells and staff members using strip searches as opportunities to commit assaults. When other employees witnessed or learned about abuse, the lawsuit said, they often did nothing to stop it.

“The systems are broken,” said Todd Mathews, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, who described the lawsuit as a way to “demand justice for every soul scarred by the system’s negligence.”

The Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, which was named in the lawsuit, released a statement on Monday saying it “takes seriously the safety of youth in the care of the department.” It said that all allegations of misconduct were investigated but that the department would not comment on active litigation.

The department “has enacted policies and protocols to ensure the safety of youth and staff and identify any possible instances of abuse or misconduct,” the statement said. “I.D.J.J. protocols comply with both state and federal safety standards and I.D.J.J. completes ongoing policy and protocol evaluations.” All staff members working in the department, the statement added, “undergo background checks and training, along with participating in ongoing professional development.”

The Illinois Department of Corrections was also named in the suit. An official at that agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

The Iowa State Fair Continues Friday, as Republican Candidates Seek a Moment

The butter cow is carved. The pork chops are prepped. And the…

Company Recalls Ice Cream Products Over Listeria Contamination Concerns

An ice cream company based in Brooklyn has issued a recall of…

Inexpensive Add-on Spawns a New Era of Machine Guns

Caison Robinson, 14, had just met up with a younger neighbor on…

North Carolina Bans Transgender Care for Minors as Republicans Override Veto

North Carolina became the latest state to block minors from having access…