UPDATE: Sexual assault of juvenile reported at Augusta YDC

Richmond County YDC
Jade Holder, 19, died after being attacked in the Augusta Youth Development Campus. (WRDW-TV / Nov. 9, 2011)
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Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Georgia Bureau of Investigation is looking into another incident, this time a sexual assault, at Augusta's Youth Development Campus.

The Department of Juvenile Justice says a 14-year-old reported a 17-year-old violated him Sunday night around 5:20 p.m.

News 12 has pulled documents showing this is not the first time inmates there have been accused of molesting one another.

Over the past month, News 12 has followed three investigations at the Augusta Youth Development Campus. One was launched after juvenile inmate Jade Holder was murdered nearly a month ago. Days later, the DJJ announced an investigation of contraband coming in and out of the facility.

The GBI is also involved with both of these investigations. The DJJ alone is investigating a sexual harassment case involving an Augusta YDC employee.

Documents show over the past five years, there have been dozens of criminal sexual incidents reported at the Augusta YDC.

The incidents from 2007-2011 include:

  • 18 reports of sexual abuse or exploitation
  • 10 reports of youth on youth sexual acts on DJJ property
  • Nine reports of abusive youth on youth sexual acts
  • 97 reports of lewd or lascivious conduct

Now, another sexual assault report could be added to these numbers.

The Department of Juvenile Justice said in a press release Monday: "The alleged victim was examined and treated at a nearby hospital and has resumed his normal routine at the Augusta YDC."

A pastor who's worked at dozens of YDC facilities, including the one in Augusta, told News 12 he's seen the results of physical and sexual violence at the facility.

"Augusta is the worst unit I've been in across the United States of America," he said in an interview last month. "It is sad. It is sad what it has gone to."

When compared with the rest of the state's 26 total YDC facilities, Augusta's accounts for 10.5 percent of this year's total sexual abuse or exploitation reports. Over 14 percent of Georgia's youth on youth sexual acts on DJJ property happened at Augusta.

A former guard at the Augusta YDC said the kids sometimes reported sexual misconduct to him, but he admits the investigations always led to dead ends.

"Kids were telling me they're having this and that affair with certain employees and all of that," he said. "And I reported it to my supervisors, and they had me continue to talk to the kids that were involved. But they -- they didn't really have any hard evidence."

The RYDC facility next door the Development Campus reports two sexual harassment incidents on youth by staff, contractors, volunteers or interns. The documents also reveal two youth on youth abusive sexual acts and eight reports of lewd or lascivious conduct by the inmates.

The former guard added, "You don't let them get into an area where they're by themselves. Because if that same cell is open, they're gonna have sex with each other."

For now, the DJJ promised in a press release, "Additional precautionary security measures are being taken at the facility."

News 12 has been following this story from the beginning. To read and watch all of our past coverage, you can visit the special page we have set up here.