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Advocacy group calls for Tulsa detention center shutdown amid sex abuse claims

Posted at 4:44 PM, May 29, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — There are renewed calls for an immediate investigation into the Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Center.

“The facility should be shut down and the kids should be moved somewhere safe,” said Colleen McCarty, Executive Director for Oklahoma Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.

After the arrest of former detention officer Jonathan Hines in April on sexual abuse allegations, Oklahoma Appleseed wanted an independent investigation into the facility.

Here's that story from April:

Tulsa juvenile detention officer charged with human trafficking

“I don’t think it’s proper for the county district attorney to be investigating the county juvenile detention center,” said McCarty.

At the time, 2 News received statements from the Oklahoma Attorney General and Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office, effectively declining that demand.

However, now, a federal civil rights lawsuit alleges there are 21 victims of sexual abuse at the hands of people inside the juvenile detention center.

The lawsuit claims there are multiple assailants and that people in charge of the facility knew about the situation.

The most shocking to McCarty — allegations that Hines had been accused of molesting a child outside of the center as well.

“His supervisor and the director were made aware of the molestation that this person perpetrated on a child,” said McCarty. “And he was not fired as a detention officer overseeing kids.”

No known charges relate to that allegation, and it's unclear whether any department is investigating the facility.

“If an officer has probable cause that a crime has occurred or going to occur or occurred recently, they have a duty to investigate,” said McCarty, who is also an attorney.

McCarty said she thinks the safety of detainees is in jeopardy.
“They shouldn’t be put back in there until we have trained officers and trained staff that aren’t trafficking in sex,” said McCarty. “I’m sorry to be crass, but that’s what’s happening.”

Currently, Hines is the only person listed in the lawsuit that is charged with a crime.

2 News learned late on May 29 that Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office deputies investigated a second potential sexual perpetrator from inside the facility back in the fall of 2023.

The report was sent to prosecutors.

The Tulsa County District Attorney’s Office told 2 News that the case is still under review and that they plan to make a charging decision soon.

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