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Sexual abuse victims that suffered while incarcerated at a New Hampshire youth detention center (YDC) can seek justice and compens

Sexual abuse victims that suffered while incarcerated at a New Hampshire youth detention center (YDC) can seek justice and compens

A New Hampshire House Bill, designated as HB1677-FN, has established a fund to compensate victims of sex abuse by staff members of the state’s youth detention centers.

The New Hampshire youth detention centers allegedly involved include:

  • Philbrook School
  • Tobey Special Education School
  • State Industrial School
  • Youth Services Center

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Details of the New Hampshire youth detention centers (YDCs) involved and the sex abuses reported

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According to the former child residents of the Youth Development Center that are suing the state of New Hampshire, between 1960 and 2018, incarcerated youths were beaten, raped, and tortured by state staff members–and these stories of abuse have stayed shielded from the public for decades.

Hints of what went on inside the institution’s red-brick dormitories came in pieces–the rare termination of a problem employee, independent investigations that outlined the center’s disturbing culture but seemed to do little to curb mistreatment.

Creating a pattern of mistreatment spanning six decades, more than 500 men and women have come forward with allegations of sexual and physical abuse at the hands of staff members

At least 150 staffers have so far been implicated by alleged victims, according to court filings and attorneys for the plaintiffs.

Experts contend that the breadth of wrongdoing has quietly matched some of the nation’s most shocking and high-profile child sexual abuse scandals.

Many who spent time there depict New Hampshire’s YDCs as houses of horrors, including: 

  • Rampant sexual abuse by rogue staffers;
  • Beatings so severe they eventually broke bones;
  • Residents being forced by staff to fight each other for food;
  • Solitary confinement stays that stretched for months; and,
  • Exposure to the kind of violence that leaves lasting psychological damage.

Among those who have bravely come forward include a New Hampshire state representative who revealed in an interview that he was also sexually assaulted by a staff member during his time as a teen at the facility.

“It was essentially a youth prison,” said Cody Belanger, a 27-year-old Republican, who was detained at one of the YDCs at the age of 13.

“We felt that we weren’t worth anything, that they weren’t even going to bother listening to our concerns.”

More details of the New Hampshire House Bill (HB1677-FN) established for compensating YDC sex abuse victims

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There are a couple of different options for plaintiffs seeking justice and compensation for the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of New Hampshire youth detention center employees.

The New Hampshire State Senate has passed a bill to create a system designed to settle the growing number of youth detention center abuse cases–a bill that would create a $100 million settlement fund for the hundreds of people who’ve claimed they were sexually and/or physically abused as children while incarcerated at the state’s former Youth Development Center.

However, this option has a few caps on claims, including:

  • $1.5 million for sexual abuse;
  • $150,000 for physical abuse; and,
  • the exclusion of emotional abuse.

The bill also stipulates that sex abuse victims cannot file a claim or know what the state of New Hampshire will offer them before they’ve waived their right to file a lawsuit.

The litigation process is described as "a more victim-centered and trauma-informed process than traditional litigation," according to the attorney general's office.

According to a statement released by Attorney General John Formella, "No victim is required to use this process, but it is my hope that this bill will provide an avenue for much-needed healing and compensation for many of these victims.”

A New Hampshire Department of Justice spokesman issued a statement that maintained, "There will still remain a remedy for victims of types of abuse not covered by this bill.

“The Attorney General’s Office will retain the ability to settle those claims within the traditional settlement authority the AG is afforded under New Hampshire law.”

The  USA Assistance Team encourages sexual abuse victims that suffered while incarcerated at a New Hampshire youth detention center (YDC) to come forward for a free, private case evaluation for potential justice and compensation!

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