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Lawsuit alleges pervasive child sex abuse at Tulsa Co. Juvenile Detention Center

Posted at 6:27 PM, May 28, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — A civil rights lawsuit filed for 20 minors and one adult alleges staff at the Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Center not only sexually abused them but that higher-ups knew about the abuse and did nothing.

2 News reported earlier in May that Tulsa County Juvenile Detention Officer Jonathan Hines was charged with sexually assaulting a child in the facility.

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The new lawsuit, filed in Muskogee federal court, suggests several other employees doing the same thing.

All 21 plaintiffs claim they were sexually assaulted, harassed, and/or raped by detention officers or other staff.

Defendants in the lawsuit include several detention officers and staff, leaders of juvenile affairs, the Tulsa Board of County Commissioners and the Juvenile Bureau of the Tulsa County District Court.

The plaintiffs are seeking unspecified actual damages exceeding $75,000 and an unspecified amount in excess of $75,000 in punitive damages.

“Knowing the deficiencies in safety and security within the Juvenile Detention Center where their actions would be unmonitored and knowing of the persistent inadequate staffing, these defendants had total control over juvenile detainees," the lawsuit reads.

Multiple detention officers are named for allegedly sexually abusing multiple kids at the facility in 2023 and 2024. The lawsuit also claims several other staff members knew of the abuse and knowingly allowed it to continue.

Some of the accusations of abuse include:

  • trading "vape pens" for sexual acts
  • a nurse prescribing "heat treatments" to get a victim alone to sexually abuse them
  • significant time in lockdown during all hours of the day and on weekends
  • getting visitation rights taken away for having two books in their room
  • medications not being distributed properly
  • staff being intoxicated on illegal substances at work
  • staff giving out cannabis gummies

When concerns were raised about abuse, one staffer was accused of threatening inmates to silence them.
The lawsuit details several instances where concerns were raised, but nothing was ever done.

Other than Jonathan Hines, we are unaware of criminal charges filed against any of the other staff accused in the lawsuit.

The Tulsa Police Department said they don't have any police reports and that a victim must initiate the first step of an investigation.

2 News reached out to Tulsa County and the District Attorney's office for comment. Both said they couldn't speak on pending litigation, but the District Attorney's office provided this statement.

“We are involved in criminal litigation which appears to also be related in part to the allegations contained in the lawsuit. As such, it would be improper for us to discuss issues which could impact the rights of a criminally charged defendant. Individuals who are charged with crimes are presumed innocent until a judge or jury determines otherwise.”

2 News will continue to follow this case as it develops.

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