An Ohio man who was 12 when he says he was raped repeatedly by an older inmate in 2007 at a now-shuttered juvenile prison is suing seven corrections workers, alleging they failed to protect him and ignored his reports of abuse.
The man, now 20, accuses the former officers and administrators at Marion Juvenile Correctional Facility in Northern Ohio of housing him in the same unit as an 18-year-old inmate known for sexually targeting young boys, according to his civil-rights lawsuit, filed Thursday in federal court in Toledo.
“They basically threw him to the wolves,” said David Singleton, one of the man’s lawyers and the executive director of the Cincinnati-based Ohio Justice & Policy Center, a nonprofit that litigates civil-rights cases for prisoners.
“What happened to him will always stay with him, and it is something that is hard for him to think back on and to talk about, but he wants to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anybody else again,” Singleton said. “No 12-year-old should be put in a unit with aggressive, dangerous, sexually violent adults that are going to harm him. It’s just outrageous.”
Darrel Saxon, the 18-year-old inmate he was housed with at Marion, was convicted of one count of raping the boy in 2008 and is serving a sentence of 10 years to life in prison at a facility just outside of Columbus.
The Associated Press generally does not name sexual assault victims.
Kim Jump, a spokeswoman for the Department of Youth Services, which employed all those named in the lawsuit, said Friday that three of them resigned, three retired and one was transferred to another state agency, the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Jump declined to comment further, citing the pending litigation.
The department is not a named defendant in the case.
Saxon admitted to investigators that he had sexual contact with the boy but said it was mutual. During his trial, he denied any sexual conduct with the boy, saying he only said that he had to embarrass the boy.
The lawsuit says that Saxon sexually assaulted the boy about 15 times between January and March 2007.
The boy complained about Saxon to prison workers but nothing was done until March 20, 2007, when a fellow inmate walked in on one of the assaults in a mop closet and reported it, the lawsuit says.
“Defendants acted and failed to act with deliberate indifference and malice toward the rights and safety of [the boy],” the lawsuit says. “Plaintiff suffers serious psychological and emotional harm, including severe humiliation and ongoing emotional trauma and stress.”
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.
The Marion Juvenile Correctional closed in 2009 after the settlement of a long-running lawsuit alleging a culture of violence permeating Ohio’s juvenile correctional facilities.