Representing Survivors Abused at BMYC in Swanton, MD

If you were sexually abused while housed at the Backbone Mountain Youth Center in Swanton, Maryland, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and a financial recovery of your damages.

Backbone Mountain has been identified by the U.S. Department of Justice as having the highest rate of sexual abuse among any juvenile detention facility in the nation. The DOJ report has already prompted scrutiny of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and, thanks to a newly passed Maryland law that gives survivors of child sexual abuse an unlimited amount of time to file lawsuits, is emboldening former inmates to step forward with their claims.

Now, Levy Konigsberg is helping a growing number of Backbone Mountain Youth Center sexual abuse survivors explore their options for taking legal action against the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. If you have a potential case, we want to help.

Levy Konigsberg is an award-winning trial practice known nationally for litigating civil sexual abuse claims against powerful institutions, municipalities, and public and private prison systems. If you have questions about a potential Backbone Mountain Youth Center sexual abuse lawsuit, call or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.

How Maryland’s Child Victims Act Can Help Former Backbone Mountain Inmates Seek Justice

Maryland has led the nation in passing legislation that greatly expands the rights of sexual abuse survivors – especially survivors of child sexual abuse.

This includes the Child Victims Act of 2023, which provides survivors of childhood sexual abuse with unprecedented opportunities to pursue justice against their abusers and any entities or institutions that failed to protect them.

Here are some key details about Child Victims Act of 2023:

  • The CVA eliminates the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits based on child sexual abuse, which means that there is no deadline by which survivors must initiate legal action.
  • The CVA creates an unlimited lookback period that allows child sexual abuse survivors to file lawsuits over abuse that occurred at any time in the past, even if such claims were barred by the previous statute of limitations.

The Child Victims Act goes into effect on October 1, 2023, but institutions with histories of child sexual abuse, such as the Catholic Church’s Baltimore Archdiocese and the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, are already preparing for what will likely be a flood of claims brought by survivors abused years and decades ago.

At Levy Konigsberg, our award-winning attorneys are helping a growing number of survivors abused in Maryland juvenile detention centers learn more about their options under the Maryland Child Victims Act. If you have questions about a potential case, we’re available to help.

About Backbone Mountain Youth Center

Backbone Mountain Youth Center (BMYC) is a secure treatment facility located in Swanton, Maryland. Initially opened in 1966 as the Backbone Mountain Forestry Camp for Boys, the facility has operated under its current name (BMYC) since 1977.

Operated by the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, Backbone Mountain houses up to 48 male inmates between the ages of 14 to 18 who have been ordered by the courts to participate in treatment programs that typically last for six to nine months. In addition to treatment services, youth housed at Backbone Mountain attend school in the facility year-round.

While Backbone Mountain Youth Center has been in operation since the 1960s, it has faced complaints and scrutiny over rampant sexual abuse that dates back decades.

DOJ Report Identifies Backbone Mountain as Nation’s Worst Juvenile Detention Center for Sexual Victimization

In 2010, federal investigators from the Department of Justice conducted a sweeping study into the scope of sexual abuse in U.S. youth detention facilities.

As part of the study, investigators collected information from roughly 200 juvenile detention centers across the country and reviewed surveys completed by thousands of incarcerated youth offenders. Specifically, the study focused on reported incidents of sexual victimization, which it classified as any sexual activity between youth inmates and staff and forced sexual activity with another youth.

The DOJ report revealed that Backbone Mountain Youth Center was the worst in the nation when it came to sexual abuse in juvenile detention facilities.

Here are some key findings from the report.

  • Backbone Mountain Youth Center was identified by DOJ investigators as having the highest rate of sexual abuse among any surveyed juvenile detention facility in the nation.
  • According to the DOJ report, 36.4% of youth inmates housed at Backbone Mountain reported that they were sexually victimized in custody.
  • The 36.4% sexual abuse rate reported by youth housed at Backbone Mountain was three times the national average of 12%.

The DOJ’s shocking findings are an indication that the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services has woefully failed to protect youth inmates housed at Backbone Mountain from sexual abuse – including abuse committed by counselors and facility staff members.

Do I Have a Case?

You may have grounds to file a civil legal action if:

  • You were sexually abused by counselor, supervisor, or other juvenile detention center staff member.
  • The abuse occurred at Backbone Mountain Youth Center at any time in the past.

At Levy Konigsberg, we support survivors in civil actions that aim to hold the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and other responsible entities accountable for their failures to stop abusive staff members and protect young inmates. This includes holding the DJS and facility leadership accountable for negligent hiring and supervision, failures to adequately investigate complaints, and other failings in protecting youth.

As civil claims, these cases are separate from any criminal proceedings that may arise from abuse and focus instead on holding institutions liable for damages. This means you may still have a claim even if:

  • Your abuser is no longer alive.
  • Your abuser was never charged or convicted of a crime.

Recoverable Damages in Sexual Abuse Claims

In addition to providing accountability and a sense of justice, civil sex abuse lawsuits allow survivors to recover financial compensation for their damages, which may include:

  • Past medical and mental health expenses
  • Future mental health expenses, including therapy, medications, etc.
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and psychological harm
  • Lost income
  • Other economic and non-economic damages

Under the Maryland Child Victims Act, the statutory cap on civil damages for child sexual abuse was increased. Under the law, survivors can recover up to $1.5 million in non-economic damages, which includes things like emotional anguish and pain and suffering, when filing against a private institution, and up to $890,000 in non-economic damages against public and government entities. The cap applies to each incident of abuse and no cap is placed on economic or punitive damages.

Our attorneys know that child sexual abuse has profound and lifelong consequences. We can help you evaluate the potential value of your claim and how we can fight for the maximum recovery possible.

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Now that Maryland has passed the Child Victims Act and given child sexual abuse survivors unlimited time to file claims, former inmates who were sexually abused while housed at Backbone Mountain are stepping forward to file pursue civil lawsuits and a financial recovery of their damages.

At Levy Konigsberg, our top-rated trial attorneys have recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients and earned national recognition for litigating high-stakes sexual abuse claims.

If you have questions about pursuing a lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred when you housed at Backbone Mountain Youth Center, we want to help. We serve survivors statewide and work on contingency, which means there’s no cost to hire our team and no fee unless we win.

Call or contact us online for a FREE and confidential consultation.


Find out whether you have a case by speaking to one of our experienced lawyers via our 24/7 toll-free hotline or by submitting an email inquiry. Our attorneys will be quick to respond to you and happy to answer all of your questions.


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