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Posts tagged: Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections

Federal judge rules whistleblower lawsuit over abuse at state juvenile lockup can proceed

A federal judge says a whistleblower lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections can move forward in court on some of the claims it raises, charging that young prisoners at a Nampa juvenile detention facility were sexually abused by staffers, and agency leaders not only didn't effectively act to stop the abuse, but retaliated against workers who complained about that and other problems at the lockup. “This is a whistleblower case,” wrote U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill in a Thursday ruling. “The 10 plaintiffs — employees at the Nampa facility operated by the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections — claim they suffered retaliation when they protested unsafe conditions at the facility. They claim that the retaliation was designed to suppress their protected speech and prevent the public from finding out about deplorable conditions at the facility that placed juvenile inmates in danger.” Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

Minor claims abuse by staffers at state juvenile facility

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — A former inmate at a Nampa facility run by the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections has filed a tort claim contending that he was sexually abused by female staffers. The Idaho Press-Tribune reports ( that the unnamed plaintiff on Thursday filed the tort claim that's a precursor to a lawsuit, seeking $1.2 million. The tort claim said the juvenile was the victim of battery and sexual abuse by female staffers, and was forced to participate in fistfights organized by staff members. It also said staff members threatened him with bodily harm if he ever talked about crimes taking place in the facility. In a separate case, the former safety and security supervisor at the facility in Nampa, Julie McCormick, pleaded guilty last year to sexually abusing a 15-year-old juvenile offender, who also has filed a tort claim against the state. A group of current and former employees filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2012, alleging some staffers at the Nampa juvenile detention facility sexually abused incarcerated youths.

Click below for a full report from the AP and the Idaho Press-Tribune.

Whistleblowers charge that Idaho Juvenile Corrections is stalling to keep sex abuse records under wraps

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A group of Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction employees who filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the state say the agency is violating a judge's order to meet and decide which documents should be made public. Attorney Andrew Schoppe filed court documents Wednesday alleging that the state agency has been stalling for months in an effort to keep the public from learning the details of allegations that some staffers sexually abused juveniles at a Nampa detention center. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill recently gave agency officials two weeks to discuss with the plaintiffs which records should be kept secret, but Schoppe says that deadline has passed. The plaintiffs are asking Winmill to limit the types of documents that are sealed and to order the department to turn over the records.

Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

$1.2M tort claim filed over sexual assault at Idaho juvey lockup

Here's a news item from the AP and the Idaho Press-Tribune: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― A 15-year-old boy is seeking $1.2 million from Idaho and its correctional system, claiming the state failed to protect him from a prison staffer who sexually assaulted him. The Idaho Press-Tribune ( reported Thursday a tort claim was filed against Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction director Sharon Harrigfeld as well as other state officials and agencies. A 31-year-old former safety and security supervisor, Julie McCormick, was charged criminally earlier this month. Now, the alleged victim is seeking civil reparations, arguing that he suffered emotional and personal distress as a result of “statutory rape, lewd and lascivious conduct, sexual battery, neglect” and other harm. In the tort claim, his lawyers allege McCormick took him to places in the juvenile facility in Nampa where no cameras could record their activities.

Idaho juvey chief on whistleblower lawsuit: ‘Our facilities are safe’

Sharon Harrigfeld, director of the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections, has released a statement in the wake of a whistleblower lawsuit charging abuses at a Nampa juvenile center run by the department, saying, “I believe in our programs and I believe in our staff.” The lawsuit includes charges that staff members had sex with jailed juveniles at the center. Here's Harrigfeld's full statement:

“While it is standard practice for an agency facing a lawsuit to limit discussion about the allegations outside of the legal process, when questions are raised about the safety of juveniles in our care and custody and the safety of our staff it is important for me as the director to provide reassurance that our facilities are safe. I am confident that our staff and the procedures we have in place focus on the safety and protection of juveniles in our custody and ensure that when allegations of misconduct are brought forward they are investigated and appropriate action is taken.

“This is a difficult time for the Department, especially for the staff who do incredible and challenging work in the facilities to provide the best services to the juveniles committed to their care. I believe in our programs and I believe in our staff. I thank all staff for the public service provided each day to community safety.”


Whistleblower lawsuit expands, charges juvey staffers had sex with juveniles

Here's a news item from the Association Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) ― A group of Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections employees have revised their lawsuit against the agency, alleging that some staffers at a juvenile detention center in Nampa had sex with the youth incarcerated there. Attorney Andrew Schoppe first filed the lawsuit in Boise's U.S. District Court on behalf of seven employees who contended that the Nampa detention center is rife with problems including cronyism and policies that put staffers and kids at risk. Last week department officials filed a response denying all those allegations. The new version of the lawsuit filed Wednesday adds six plaintiffs along with allegations that juveniles frequently have sex with each other, and that managers failed to act when some staffers had sex with juveniles. The allegations include that a female staffer had a sexual relationship with an incarcerated male juvenile, and then moved in with him after his release; and that a male staffer had sexual contact with a female juvenile detainee. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Rebecca Boone.

Idaho gets new Juvey director

Sharon Harrigfeld, a longtime Idaho juvenile corrections employee and official, has been named the new director of the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections, replacing Larry Callicutt, who is retiring Aug. 1. “We’re losing a great director and a valued member of my team with Larry’s departure,” Gov. Butch Otter said in a statement. “His dedication, experience and professionalism will be sorely missed. At the same time, I couldn’t ask for a more qualified, better prepared or more committed person than Sharon to be taking the reins. I know that Juvenile Corrections won’t miss a beat under her leadership. The people of Idaho will continue getting the kind of protection they deserve and our troubled youths will get the firm and just guidance and direction they need.” Click below to read more.

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About this blog

Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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