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Sunday, December 10, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Juvy Hall Called Sexual Stalking Ground

BOISE (CN) - Female staff at a juvenile correctional facility sexually abused five boys through threats, intimidation, alcohol and drugs, the boys claim in court.

Some of the boys already had been victims of sexual abuse when they arrived at the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections in Nampa between 2008 and 2014, they say in their March 19 lawsuit in Ada County Court.

The 18-page complaint paints a twisted picture of sexual abuse, jealousy and predation by facility officers and medical staff.

"An employee of IDJC-Nampa provided controlled substances to A.F., locked him in a room ... and had sexual intercourse with [him]," the complaint states. "Following this incident, the employee gave A.F. cash and then later demanded sexual intercourse in exchange. If A.F. refused, he was threatened with a loss of privileges and with being turned in for having cash in the facility."

All of the plaintiffs claim they were subjected to similar instances of mental manipulation, threats, coercion and were offered drugs and soft drinks spiked with alcohol, leading to oral sex and sexual intercourse in various areas of the facility, outside of camera view.

Another plaintiff claims he was victimized by a student intern medical assistant, assigned to the Milan Institute inside the facility. The woman had "no qualifications for psychiatric care and treatment of juveniles or mental health patients" and was allowed unsupervised access to the facility's residents, according to the complaint. Some of the women continued the abusive behavior after their victims had been released, the boys say.

Defendant Valerie Lieteau "traveled to D.I.B's hometown on at least two occasions and engaged in sexual intercourse with him while was still a juvenile," the complaint states. "Lieteau also continued to stalk D.I.B. by telephone and text, and made threats to (him), which caused him to fear for his safety. Lieteau groomed D.I.B. in a manner commonly used by child predators."

The victims say they complained, but that no action was ever taken.

They sued the Milan Institute, the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections and its Director Sharon Harrigfeld, supervisor Betty Grimm, Esperenza Jimenez, and officers Valerie Lieteau and Julie McCormick.

They seek damages for due process violations, negligent and/or intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervision and sexual battery.

The boys say the officers were fully aware that their actions were illegal.

"Defendants ... all of whom were over the age of 18 years, subjected the plaintiffs to sexual abuse when the plaintiffs were under the age of 18 and/or lack[ed] the capacity to consent to sexual conduct due to medication, incarceration and other circumstance," the complaint states. "The plaintiffs did not consent to the ... sexual abuse and could not consent because of their minority, medicated states or inability to consent due to the level of power and authority held by said defendants over plaintiff."

The boys say they were also prevented from seeking help through their attorneys.

"Defendants ... denied plaintiffs an opportunity to consult with counsel about the conditions of their confinement, and an opportunity to be heard in a meaningful time, place and manner concerning the unconstitutional conditions of their confinement," the complaint states. "In the alternative, the measures taken to later deny them reasonable access were excessive in light of any legitimate government purpose."

The plaintiffs are represented by Eric Rossman.

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