A 16-year-old boy was severely beaten in the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center last month by five youths who kicked him in the head and face after he fell to the ground “defenseless,” the Baltimore Sun reports. It was the second recent incident in which a youth was assaulted in a state juvenile detention center. Four staff members at a facility near Washington, D.C., were charged with holding down a 17-year-old and striking him repeatedly on Nov. 30. The Baltimore victim was hospitalized with severe head and torso injuries and a broken leg. “Our staff jumped on the boys as soon as it happened,” said facility spokeswoman LaWanda Edwards. “We feel very good about the way it was handled.”
The case troubled child advocates. “The department has not responded to what I personally think are reasonable queries about how did this happen and how are you going to stop it from happening again,” said Jim McComb of the Maryland Association of Resources for Families and Youth.
The incident occurred at a center that began housing youths Oct. 30. It is designed to hold up to 144 juveniles awaiting court dates. Police said a staff member was escorting the victim to his cell when the five teen-age boys approached. One of the suspects later told authorities that the youths had been “lying in wait.” As the staffer tried to intervene, the teens began a “relentless” attack that continued until the victim “was lying defenseless, on the ground.”