DJJ Employees Fired in Wake of Rapes

Six people have been fired and five others disciplined in the wake of a sex scandal at Leon County's Juvenile Detention Center.

Family members say a mentally handicapped teen was raped repeatedly by a fellow detainee there and staff did nothing to stop it.

"He was raped repeatedly."

Attorneys for a 16-year-old mentally handicapped child claim while he was here at the Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center he was repeatedly sexually assaulted in his room and in the shower. He says staff knew about it and did nothing.

Ben Crump, the family attorney, says, "It was known and nothing took place. It was almost 'look the other way,' and that's not acceptable."

Seventeen-year-old Lee Donton, who police say has a prior sex offense, is now facing felony charges for assaulting the teen.

Anthony Schembri, Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary, says, "There was a lack of supervision, a failure to supervise."

Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Anthony Schembri says employees who failed to act are now paying the price.

"When officers left to their own devices start making their own rules, they're going to pay the penalty, and they did in this situation."

Six detention center employees have now been fired including Superintendent Linda Edwards-Ellis, the shift commander, supervisor and three other officers. Five more have been disciplined or demoted. Five others already resigned.

The mentally handicapped teen is now at a group home and his attorneys say they are filing to suit to be sure this can never happen at a juvenile detention center again.

Secretary Schembri says he has met with all 26 superintendents and says it is also time to re-examine the issue of mentally handicapped children in DJJ who are there while waiting for openings in more suitable facilities.


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