A former youth counselor at Youth Intervention Center, a rehab and detention facility in Pennsylvania, has been convicted on charges of sexually assaulting 5 of the center's young residents.
By Laurence Banville
A former youth counselor at the Youth Intervention Center, a detention and rehabilitation facility in Lancaster County, has been convicted on numerous charges of sexual misconduct, according to LancasterOnline.
Lancaster Youth Counselor Sentenced To 10 - 25 YearsLancaster County prosecutors say 55-year-old David T. Stevenson molested at least one young girl, paid youth at the center for sex and made lewd comments to at least 5 girls at the facility. He pleaded guilty and no contest to the charges, receiving a sentence of between 1o and 25 years in Pennsylvania State prison, plus 3 years of probation.
Stevenson's victims were between 14 and 17 years old, prosecutors claim. At his plea hearing, the former youth counselor wept, saying, "I am ready to pay for my mistakes and I apologize to all the victims." One survivor of Stevenson's misconduct attended the hearing, but did not make any comments to the court.
Detention & Rehab Center For YouthStevenson began working at the Youth Intervention Center, licensed and inspected by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, in 2016.
The facility provides detention space for juveniles who have been accused or convicted of criminal activity, along with treatment programs and a shelter service for at-risk youth.
Counselor "Took Advantage" Of PositionAll of Stevenson's victims, Assistant District Attorney Fritz Haverstick says, were staying in the facility's shelter under the center's dependency program, WFMZ reports.
"You took advantage of individuals entrusted to your care," Judge Dennis Reinaker told Stevenson at the hearing. Noting that many of the victims likely already dealt with significant challenges in their lives, the Judge added, "you no doubt made their lives worse."
Youth Worker's Heinous Actions Described In CourtProsecutors say Stevenson made numerous lewd comments to his 5 young victims. He paid at least one victim $100 after she'd run away from the center, and attempted to solicit her for sex on Facebook.
His conduct with another victim was even more egregious. After exposing himself to her, Stevenson molested the girl, prosecutors claim, then gave her a razor blade. The blade, Stevenson told her, was so she could slit her wrists, thus gaining entry into a mental health facility where it would be easier for Stevenson to pick her up for sex.
Prosecutors Note Lack Of Criminal RecordProsecutors in the case acknowledge that, prior to his recent conviction, David T. Stevenson had no previous criminal record. He finished his college degree after serving 6 years in the military.
Drew Fredericks, director for the Youth Intervention Center, says the facility performs rigorous background checks and had no qualms about hiring Stevenson back in 2016. Stevenson resigned, after being approached about his inappropriate conduct, in 2018. He worked at the Youth Intervention Center for almost exactly 2 years.
Judge Reinaker noted Stevenson's lack of a criminal history but, in regard to the misconduct in question, felt that a prison sentence between 10 and 25 years was appropriate.