An employee of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department has been fired and arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a boy at the McLennan County State Juvenile Correctional Facility in Mart.
According to the TTJD, they were notified on Friday, October 25 that 22-year-old employee Jatavian Smith had allegedly sexually assaulted a juvenile inmate the night before. Smith had been working for the TTJD since June as a youth development coach.
The arrest affidavit says that the boy told authorities Smith entered his cell on October 24th at around 9:04 p.m. and sexually assaulted him. According to investigators, surveillance video confirmed that Smith did enter the boy's cell at that time and left four minutes later.
Investigators also say that Smith has confessed to sexually assaulting the boy. He was immediately suspended without pay and was fired on Monday, October 28th.
Smith was arrested on Wednesday, October 30 and charged with sexual assault. He was booked into the McLennan County Jail.
Attorney contributor Marc Lenahan works as a civil sex abuse victims rights attorney. Marc has offered to share some of his knowledge on the legal rights of inmates who have been sexually abused by employees at jails and prisons:
In any field that involves employees working from positions of authority, there is the potential for that authority to be abused. Our attorneys have seen several such cases in the criminal justice field when employees of correctional facilities sexually abuse inmates. These sexual predators deserve to be brought to justice and the victims of these crimes deserve to have their legal rights represented.
The perpetrators of these crimes may think that their positions will shield from consequences, but this is not the case. Victims can find justice by reporting the abuse to law enforcement. Additionally, in many cases, these victims may have grounds for a lawsuit against the facility for negligence.
For example, a correctional facility could be considered negligent for sexual abuse of an inmate by an employee if there had been previous complaints against the employee but no response to those complaints.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual abuse in a correctional facility, you can learn more about your legal rights by speaking with one of our experienced sex abuse victims lawyers in a free consultation.