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Justice report indicates sexual abuse high in Oklahoma juvenile facilities

BY SHAUN HITTLE Published: July 19, 2013
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/articleid/3863788/1/pictures/2162103">Photo - File photo - One of the girls at the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh - Photo by David McDaniel
File photo - One of the girls at the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh - Photo by David McDaniel

Despite the report's findings, the Office of Juvenile Affairs said it has received only six complaints related to sexual abuse at the facilities included in the survey since 2010; only one was substantiated. Youths are informed about how to make complaints when they enter the facilities.

“When we receive reports of abuse to one of our youth, an aggressive investigation is conducted,” the agency said in its statement.

In 2010, the Department of Justice released a similar study. Although that study didn't include overall state rates, the report listed a 25 percent victimization rate at the now-closed L.E. Rader Center in Sand Springs, and a 16.7 percent rate at the Central Oklahoma Juvenile Center in Tecumseh. The national average in the 2010 study was 12.1 percent.

The state contracts with numerous detention facilities in Oklahoma, but each facility is responsible for handling its own sexual abuse complaints, a Juvenile Affairs office spokeswoman said.

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Editor's note: Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit investigative team established to report on public policy issues in Oklahoma. It is funded by the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Tulsa Community Foundation.

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