According to The Gazette, the Spring Creek Youth Services Center, located at 3190 E Las Vegas Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906, has been accused of hiding abuse in the facility. The history of problems involves the behavior of the juvenile inmates and the staff. Employees have come forward, both on the record and anonymously, accusing the detention facility of failing to report sexual assault between the staff and the juveniles.
Although incident reports do not show many occurrences, the employees suggest that the facility has an ongoing problem. Three employees from the facility assert that the staff was encouraged to refrain from filing and documenting incidents as they occur. Employees allege that sexual assault occurs between the facility residents and between the staff and juveniles. Additionally, cases of the juveniles residents sexually harassing the staff are claimed not to be documented as well.
A specific incident highlighted against the facility by The Gazette includes employees claiming that they suspected a 14-year old boy was raped by two other boys in the restrooms. Despite the physical evidence of being unwillingly sodomized, the incident was not reported by the boy or staff members. The employee went on to state they feared the juveniles would become more violent if disciplinary actions were taken. One instance noted by the employees was that a staff member was thrown down a flight of stairs by a juvenile.
Other accusations made by the employees include drugs being smuggled in by the staff. Due to the recent Covid-19 restrictions being enforced, visitors are prohibited at the facility. However, several instances of drugs and other paraphernalia were documented in an incident report provided to The Gazette. The employees accused other staff of selling the drugs to the juveniles using payments on a phone app. Security officer, Jacob Sui, was fired following an investigation on accusations of him providing drugs to the inmates. However, the disciplinary file stated he was terminated due to unsatisfactory job performance.
According to Anders Jacobson, director of the Colorado Division of Youth Services, bed capacity was to be reduced from 60 to 45 this past year. Employees claim this is not the case and that 60 were still living there the first week of July. Jacobson claims it is due to a ten-year decrease in the number of juveniles being sent to detention facilities. The number of residents in a single pod, or wing, is also said to decrease from 20 to nine.
Attorney Dan Lipman, an experienced sexual abuse lawyer, has represented numerous sexual abuse victims and their families involving detention centers in civil lawsuits. We recently interviewed Dan and asked him to provide his feedback on the legal rights of victims sexually assaulted at a detention center.
"Juvenile detention centers have a legal obligation to provide adequate safety to both the employees and resident inmates. Guards are trusted by residents to uphold their safety in a facility. Guards and employees are encouraged to follow proper procedures as a form of safety measure. Additionally, the inmates are expected to follow the facility's rules and entrust that the employees are looking out for their safety. Facilities should implement security cameras and misconduct reporters to provide additional security measures. When the rules and procedures are not followed, this is a form of negligence."
"When abuse occurs, whether between the employee and the juvenile or between multiple juveniles, reports should be documented, and an investigation should follow. Facilities have a legal obligation to ensure juvenile and staff's safety and must do everything possible to prevent abuse from occurring. However, if the misconduct is seen but ignored or a report is made but not followed up, the facility could be deemed negligent. In cases of negligence, facilities may be found be liable in a civil lawsuit. Whether they are an employee or resident inmates, victims and their families need to know they may have grounds for a civil lawsuit against the detention facility and should seek the services of an experienced sexual abuse lawyer."