Tennessee is considering ways of improving oversight of sexual abuse claims at state juvenile detention facilities after a damning federal report named a Nashville center as having one of the worst rates of abuse in the U.S., The Tennessean reports. Legislators asked officials yesterday how they investigates workers when claims of sex abuse are made by youths incarcerated at a state facility.
The Justice Department said a majority of the cases nationally and at Nashville’s Woodland Hills facility involved female staffers’ abusing male youths. The Tenessean reported that in 2007, kitchen staffer Luana Settle was convicted of statutory rape after she had given a 17-year-old youth at the center chlamydia, and went on to live with another boy she’d had a sexual encounter with at the facility. Legislators believe “the department investigating itself is not a good policy,” said Nashville Democrat Rep. Sherry Jones, who chairs an oversight committee.