Fighting for Survivors Sexually Abused in Juvenile Detention and Residential Treatment Centers in California

For decades, California’s juvenile detention facilities and youth residential treatment centers have faced allegations of systemic failure in protecting young inmates and patients from sexual abuse. Recently, significant legislative reforms have dramatically extended the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse lawsuits, empowering more survivors to come forward and pursue justice. This legal landscape shift has prompted a wave of litigation aimed at holding these facilities accountable for past abuses and seeking financial compensation for survivors’ damages.

If you experienced sexual abuse while incarcerated at a juvenile detention center or youth residential treatment center in California, you may now have a strong legal basis to seek recourse under the state’s updated sexual abuse laws. These amendments provide survivors with a renewed opportunity to confront their abusers and seek financial restitution for the physical, emotional, and psychological harm they endured during their confinement.

Levy Konigsberg, renowned for its prowess in handling complex sexual abuse cases nationwide, stands ready to assist survivors in Los Angeles, San Diego, and across California. Whether you seek guidance on navigating the legal process or wish to explore your options for pursuing a lawsuit against a juvenile detention facility or youth residential treatment center, our experienced attorneys are committed to advocating for your rights and ensuring accountability.

FREE Consultations for Victims of California Youth Residential Treatment and Juvenile Detention Sexual Abuse

Contact us today at (661) 384-7977 or email to discuss your case with our experienced legal team.

History of Child Sexual Abuse Juvenile Detention Centers in California

Sexual abuse against minors incarcerated juvenile detention facilities in California has been documented by various investigations and high-profile lawsuits over the years. Some examples of recent lawsuits include:

  • From December 2022 to June 2023, a series of lawsuits were filed on behalf of nearly 600 survivors who were sexually abused and harassed at Los Angeles County’s juvenile facilities. The lawsuits, which name L.A. County and over 200 unnamed officers as defendants, involve abuse that occurred at Camp Kilpatrick, Central Juvenile Hall, Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall, and Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall over a 20-year period. The lawsuits claim that officers and facility officials routinely harmed and threatened youth inmates to keep them silent, provided inmates with contraband in exchange for sexual contact or silence, retaliated against those who reported incidents, and failed to properly train staff and investigate suspected abuse.
  • In May 2023, six men filed a lawsuit claiming that they were sexually abused by guards while incarcerated at juvenile detention centers in San Diego while other prison staff either ignored assaults of worked to cover them up. The lawsuit includes claims of abuse at Rancho Del Campo Detention Center, Camp Barrett Youth Correction, Kearny Mesa center, and other facilities dating back to the 1990s.

These and other similar lawsuits have been filed against the Department of Juvenile Justice and counties across the state. At their core, these claims focus on holding state and county facility operators accountable enabling rampant abuse within juvenile detention in California and for failing to appropriately investigate complaints, respond to incidents of sexual misconduct between inmates and staff, and protect youth inmates.

History of Child Sexual Abuse in California Youth Residential Treatment Facilities

Sexual abuse of patients in California’s youth residential treatment facilities is a widespread problem. This is clear from the numerous high-profile news stories, criminal charges against abusive staff, and civil lawsuits filed by survivors. Some examples of recent lawsuits include: 

BHC Alhambra Hospital

  • In 2023, a law firm filed several lawsuits against BHC Alhambra Hospital, claiming that the hospital frequently endangers the safety of its patients. 
  • In one case, the plaintiff alleged he suffered a brutal attack by another patient, forcing him to be transferred to another hospital for treatment for his injuries. In another case, the plaintiff alleged that she was brutally beaten by another patient while she was in a medicated sleep. She suffered nasal fractures, facial contusions, broken teeth, a lip laceration, and a cut on her right hand. 
  • Both lawsuits alleged that BHC Alhambra failed to protect patients from the attackers despite knowing their violent histories.
  • In 2012, BHC Alhambra was hit with a $5.9 million verdict after a mentally unstable patient brutally attacked another patient, leaving him face down and bleeding from a head wound.

Canyon Ridge Hospital

  • In 2021, a North County mother named Emma filed a lawsuit against Canyon Ridge Hospital, claiming that the hospital failed to protect her from sexual assault by another patient while she was admitted for severe postpartum depression. The suit alleged that Emma was sexually assaulted twice by a male patient while she was in a vulnerable state. 
  • Despite being labeled a “sexual risk alert” patient, Emma was allegedly not adequately monitored by the staff. The experience left her with anxiety and depression. In addition to seeking financial damages, Emma advocated for policy changes at the hospital, particularly criticizing the lack of gender separation in the psychiatric facility. 
  • In 2021, Ralph Alvin Medina, 28, a Canyon Ridge Hospital employee, was charged with two crimes after allegedly having illegal sexual contact with a patient. He was accused of molesting a female patient by touching her genitals and breasts while she was staying at the mental health center. Officials noted that the victim’s intensive drug regiment rendered her vulnerable and incapable of consent.

Heritage Oaks Hospital

  • In 2017, following an investigation into allegations that Dr. Lenton Joby Morrow, a psychiatrist at Heritage Oaks Hospital, had overprescribed medication to five patients and sexually molested one, the California Medical Board ordered that Morrow give up his medical license.
  • In 2014, at least two women had made accusations against Dr. Morrow. They claimed that Dr. Morrow had sex with them while they were receiving treatment at the hospital for substance misuse and suicidal thoughts.
  • In 2008, Adelani Adeife, a 41-year-old health worker, was arrested after allegedly sexually assaulting a mentally disabled patient at Heritage Oaks Hospital. The 17-year-old girl claimed she was raped on her second night in the hospital. 
  • According to surveillance video, Adeife entered her room more frequently and stayed longer that night. DNA samples extracted from his saliva matched those discovered on the girl. 

Sierra Vista Hospital 

  • In November 2013, a former mental health technician claimed she was dismissed from Sierra Vista Hospital because she raised concerns about the hospital’s health and safety conditions. 
  • She alleged her termination was in retaliation for reporting staff threats against patients, unsanitary conditions leading to MRSA outbreaks, and sexual assaults on patients by staff. Additionally, she claimed that the hospital was often severely understaffed, sometimes having just one staff member responsible for 20 patients.
  • In August 2012, a former clinical social worker at Kaiser Permanente claimed she was wrongfully dismissed for reporting that a client’s daughter had been sexually assaulted while involuntarily admitted at Sierra Vista. She discovered the assault through medical records and alleged that because Kaiser and Sierra Vista have a profitable partnership, they tried to cover up the allegations despite being legally required to investigate and report the assault properly. 

    You may also have a legal basis to seek recourse if you were sent by the State of California to an out-of-state youth residential treatment center and were sexually abused there.

    LK is Investigating Sexual Abuse Claims from all Juvenile Detention and Residential Treatment Facilities in California

    Levy Konigsberg is now investigating cases of sexual abuse and assault that occurred at any juvenile detention center or youth residential treatment facility in California. 

    You may have a potential claim if you were sexually abused while housed in these or any other juvenile detention centers and programs:

    • Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall
    • Camp Clinton B. Afflerbaugh
    • Camp Glenn Rockey
    • Camp Joseph Paige
    • Camp Vernon Kilpatrick
    • Central Juvenile Hall
    • Dorothy Kirby Center
    • Heman G. Stark Youth Correctional Facility
    • Karl Holton Youth Correctional Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility
    • Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall
    • N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (NAC)
    • O.H. Close Youth Correctional Facility
    • Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp
    • Preston Youth Correctional Facility
    • Southern Youth Correctional Reception Center and Clinic
    • S. Carraway Public Service and Fire Center
    • Ventura Youth Correctional Facility (VYCF)

    You may have a potential claim if you were sexually abused while receiving treatment in a California youth residential treatment facility, including:

    • BHC Alhambra Hospital
    • Canyon Ridge Hospital
    • Center for Discovery
    • Del Amo Behavioral Health System
    • Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health
    • Fremont Hospital
    • Heritage Oaks Hospital
    • Reasons Eating Disorder Center
    • San Jose Behavioral Health
    • Sierra Vista Hospital
    • The Camp Recovery Center

    You may also have a legal basis to seek recourse if you were sent by the State of California to an out-of-state youth residential treatment center and were sexually abused there.

    We specialize in sexual abuse lawsuits against powerful institutions, including prisons, clergy, and juvenile detention centers.

    We work on contingency, which means there’s no cost to hire and no fee unless we win.

    Do I Have a Case?

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

    • You were sexually abused by a guard, counselor, nurse, or other youth residential treatment or  juvenile detention center staff member.
    • The abuse occurred at any youth residential treatment or juvenile detention facility.

    Levy Konigsberg represents survivors in civil lawsuits that aim to hold youth residential treatment facilities,  juvenile detention centers, private healthcare companies, and other facility operators accountable for their failures to stop abusive staff members and protect young residents.

    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 with 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

    California Sexual Abuse Statute of Limitations

    Sexual abuse lawsuits, like other claims brought by plaintiffs who seek damages for injuries, are subject to a legal deadline known as the statute of limitations. When the statute of limitations expires, victims are not able to file claims or recover compensation.

    Fortunately, California has recognized that the statute of limitations can act as a barrier to justice for sexual abuse survivors, whom research has shown can take years or decades to come to terms with their abuse and the damages it had caused. As such, California passed the Child Victims Act in 2019 to extend the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits.

    Under the CA Child Victims Act

    • Survivors sexually abused as minors can file claims until age 40 (22 years after turning 18);
    • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse who are over 40 can file claims only if they discovered psychological injuries arising from their abuse within the past 5 years.

    Some California youth detention centers house inmates who are over 18. If you were sexually abused in a juvenile detention facility when you were 18 or older, your claim may be subject to California’s statute of limitations requiring adult survivors to file within 10 years from the date of the assault/abuse, or within 3 years from the date they discovered injuries resulting from the assault/abuse.

    Youth detention center inmates who were sexually abused as adults may also have additional options for bringing claims under the California Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, a law passed in 2022 to create temporary filing windows for survivors who were sexually abused as adults years or decades ago. These two filing windows work as follows:

    • Survivors sexually abused as adults at any time in the past may file claims during a temporary one-year window that remains open until December 31, 2023, provided they can prove that an institution tried to cover up the abuse.
    • Survivors sexually abused as adults in 2009 or later may file claims during a four-year window that is open until December 31, 2026. There is no cover-up requirement for claims filed during this window.

    Determining the statute of limitations that applies to your case against California youth residential facility or juvenile detention center can be challenging, which is why it is best to bring your matter to the attention of an experienced lawyer.

    Trust Levy Konigsberg's Legal Team for Proven Results in Sexual Abuse and Negligence Cases

    Levy Konigsberg LLP, a nationally recognized law firm, has built a legacy over three decades, recovering over $3 billion in sexual abuse compensation for clients. Led by award-winning sexual abuse lawyers, we specialize in representing survivors in sexual abuse across the country, taking on powerful institutions. Our top-rated trial practice handles all types of sexual abuse or negligence cases, showcasing numerous testimonials and successful case results. You can learn more about our latest sexual abuse work on our blog.

    FREE Consultations for Victims of California Youth Residential Treatment and Juvenile Detention Sexual Abuse

    Contact us today at (661) 384-7977 or email to discuss your case with our experienced legal team.


    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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