Female Workers Sue Juvenile Facility

Female Workers Sue Juvenile Facility

Eight female workers at a juvenile facility in San Bernardino County have filed a lawsuit against the state’s corrections department claiming that it failed to take appropriate action against wards who committed many acts of sexual assault.

The women, all correctional officers or youth counselors at the Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility in Chino, claim that in many instances, the wards masturbated in front of them, exposed themselves, grabbed them, and threatened to sexually assault them.

The Lawsuit

The women claim that their reports to authorities at the facility were discounted and dismissed many times. The authorities failed to adequately punish the offenders many times and failed to refer sexual assault cases to the county district attorney for prosecution, creating an extremely hostile working environment, the suit states.

A report on the facility by the state inspector general found that female employees felt “victimized yet powerless” because the administration employed “ineffective or inadequate sanctions” to deal with the wards’ sexual misconduct, giving them “little incentive to curtail their negative behavior.”

“The consequences of not imposing accountability … are that there is a workplace that is hostile because of sexual harassment and that is dangerous as a result of sexual harassment,” said the lead attorney representing the women, Gloria Allred. “The idea that someone would get more of a punishment for possessing cigarettes than for sexual assault is just totally unacceptable.”

The suit seeks unspecified damages.

The Corrections Department Responds

Spokesman for the corrections department Bill Sessa said, “In general, we do not condone sexual misconduct on the part of the wards.”

He went on to say, “We didn’t disagree with the inspector general that problems existed. We are in the process of some very significant wholesale changes in the juvenile-justice system.”

Victim of sexual harassment? Please contact us today for a complimentary consultation with an understanding and effective personal injury attorney who can answer your questions and help you determine the best course of action.

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