36 former residents of the Youth Development Center in Manchester, New Hampshire have filed a class-action suit against the youth detention facility alleging a wide array of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of those who worked there.
The victims were between the ages of 11 and 17 at the time of their abuse, and the abuse was perpetrated against both boys and girls. According to the Associated Press, of the 36 involved in the suit, 30 allege a combination of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, solitary confinement, and lack of access to any sort of education while detained within the facility. The remaining six plaintiffs suffered one or more of the abuse types.
According to lawyers for the plaintiffs, administrators at the facility were aware of the crimes being perpetrated against the residents but failed to act. As one attorney described the situation, the victims “are boys and girls that were taken into state custody and then beaten, raped, and tortured by state employees whose sole duty was to protect them. The people that were in charge knew what was going on, and they covered it up.”
A dozen defendants were named in the suit including the state of New Hampshire, the Youth Development Center, and the state-run agencies in charge of overseeing the goings-on there. Two former counselors – Jeffrey Buskey and Stephen Murphy – were named along with four other men who were once employed by the facility as well.
Indictments were filed against Buskey and Murphy for their roles in the abuse at the Center, however, the state’s attorney general’s office concluded that it would not have enough time to complete the lengthy investigation necessary to fully prosecute the crimes that were being alleged within the time limits such indictments would create. While charges against Buskey and Murphy were subsequently dropped as a result in order to provide the time necessary to fully investigate the allegations, the act does not preclude re-indicting the pair for the same crimes as well as any other crimes they were found to have perpetrated while entrusted with the care of safety of those under their watch.