One in seven juveniles incarcerated at McLaughlin Youth Center report being sexually victimized, and most of the perpetrators are staff members, a new national study by the U.S. Justice Department says.
The rate of sexual victimization at McLaughlin, Alaska's biggest juvenile offender facility, was 15 percent, just above the national rate at similar facilities of 12 percent, the Bureau of Justice Statistics study said.
Perhaps the most startling findings were the high rates of alleged victimization by staff -- 11 percent at McLaughlin and about 10 percent nationally. Of those who alleged staff sexual misconduct around the country, 95 percent said the culprit was a female worker.
"What's surprising is how many kids were saying these things were happening without us knowing it," said Dean Williams, a superintendent at McLaughlin, in Anchorage. Officials already have been working on the issue and now are looking at what else they need to do, he said.
Alaska officials said staff members who engage in sexual contact with residents will be fired and if possible, prosecuted.
They pointed to the case of a woman who had worked in McLaughlin's supply department. She was accused in 2006 of forcing a 17-year-old boy to engage in sex at McLaughlin, as well as off grounds. The boy told investigators he was scared and embarrassed. The woman pleaded to a single misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, according to an online court record.
To read the complete article, visit www.adn.com.