DJJ employee's firing in Claxton part of statewide investigation into juvenile facilities

Richmond County YDC
Jade Holder, 19, died after being attacked in the Augusta Youth Development Campus. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 9, 2011)
By  | 

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012

CLAXTON, Ga. -- A statewide investigation into youth facilities has led to the termination of another Department of Juvenile Justice employee, this time in Claxton, Ga.

Juvenile Probation and Parole Specialist Johnny D. Waters was fired from the Claxton Community Service Office for alleged "inappropriate use of state property and violation of several DJJ policies," according to a DJJ news release.

A GBI forensic computer analyst found Waters repeatedly used his work computer to view dating websites containing suggestive pictures. He allegedly visited these websites over 450 times while he was on the clock.

"Specialist Waters was officially informed his dismissal was based on violations of DJJ policy when he allowed his 'Internet usage to significantly interfere with [your] job performance' ... and ... 'repeatedly visited inappropriate websites on [your] work computer,'" said the news release.

The statewide investigation into juvenile facilities started in November after a 19-year-old inmate at the Augusta YDC was fatally assaulted. Approximately 27 DJJ facilities have undergone inspections within the past few months. Since the investigation began, employees have been fired from multiple facilities for employee misconduct, some of which could even be considered as criminal offenses.

After Jade Holder's death in Augusta, News 12 started looking into a possible coverup into extenuating circumstances of the murder, which launched an investigation by the Department of Juvenile Justice. To date, 11 people have been fired, including the director and the captain of security, two employees have been demoted and two others have resigned in Augusta.

The DJJ announced Feb. 3 that an employee at the Regional Youth Detention Center in Gainesville, Ga., was also fired. Juvenile Corrections Officer Ardith Brown was terminated after "allegations of an inappropriate relationship with a resident." The release said Brown was placed on suspension with pay the week before his firing.

The DJJ sent out a release on Jan. 26 following the termination of an employee at the RYDC facility in Columbus, Ga. Juvenile Corrections Officer Mike Brown was fired "for alleged improper use of physical intervention techniques." When Brown reported the incident, he called it a "sports-related injury on a basketball court." The resident was later taken to the hospital for treatment. Since then, he has been treated and released.