Fighting for Survivors Abused at CHS in Baltimore, Maryland

If you were sexually abused while housed at the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School in Baltimore, Maryland, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and a financial recovery of your damages.

The Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School has faced decades of scrutiny over rampant staff-on-inmate sexual abuse and was identified in a sweeping U.S. Department of Justice investigation which found that supervisory failures, inadequate measures, and a culture of condonement allowed facility staff to sexually abuse youth inmates without consequence for years.

Now, Levy Konigsberg is helping a growing number of survivors who were sexually abused at the Charles H. Hickey School take advantage of newly expanded Maryland laws that allow for claims to be filed over abuse that occurred at any time in the past.

Leading the Fight For Charles H. Hickey School Sex Abuse Survivors

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.

Now, we’re leading the fight for survivors who were sexually abused at juvenile detention facilities across Maryland, including many who now have the renewed right to pursue justice and compensation under the state’s recently passed Child Victims Act.

This includes a December 2023 lawsuit filed by our firm on behalf of 37 men who were sexually abused while housed as youth at the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School. The lawsuit, which was brought against the State of Maryland for its failure to protect our clients from repeated sexual abuse, includes instances of abuse dating as far back as 2005 and abuse committed by many different CHS staff, including guards, counselors, supervisors, chaplains, and more.

Other examples of our ongoing work fighting for Maryland youth detention center sex abuse survivors includes:

  • In February 2024, our firm filed suit on behalf of 63 men and women who were sexually abused at 15 different Maryland juvenile detention facilities. The suits include claims over sexual abuse that date back as far as the 1960s and as recently as the 2010s and cites numerous failures by the State of Maryland in investigating and stopping the abuse.
  • In November and December 2023, our firm filed lawsuits on behalf of more than 80 survivors who had been sexually abused as children at Thomas J.S. Waxter Children’s CenterCheltenham Youth Detention Center, and the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School. These suits were covered by the Baltimore Sun and the Associated Press in articles highlighting the bravery of survivors who are finally being heard.

Our firm currently represents over 400 survivors sexually abused in Maryland juvenile detention centers and continues to hear from numerous others who are taking courageous steps to seek justice and assert their rights under new Maryland laws.

If you have a potential case, our Charles H. Hickey School sexual abuse attorneys want to help. Call (800) 315-3806 or contact us onlinefor a FREE and confidential consultation.

About the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School & It’s History of Sexual Abuse

The Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School (CHS) is Maryland’s oldest – and arguably most controversial – youth detention facility. Opened in 1850 as the House of Refuge, it was later renamed the Maryland School for Boys when it was moved to its present location near Loch Raven in 1910. In 1918, the facility was again renamed to the Maryland Training School for Boys before adopting its current name in 1985, in honor of a former Baltimore County Sheriff.

From 1991 to April 2004, CHS was directly operated by private companies contracted by the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services. In 2004, the MD DJS resumed direct control of CHS, which at that time consisted of a secure juvenile detention facility for youth awaiting court dates or placement, which remains in operation today, and a secure treatment program, which was closed in 2005.

Over the course of its long and checkered past, the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School has been sharply criticized for rampant staff-on-inmate sexual abuse and a litany of supervisory, oversight, and staffing problems known to directly contribute to sexual assaults. CHS has also been targeted over several decades by advocates intent on having state government close the facility due to its troubling conditions and pervasive abuse.

CHS’s problematic history has been widely documented by legal filings, sweeping investigations, and criminal cases brought against guards and other abusive staff members. Some examples include:

  • In July 2005, the State of Maryland announced that it would be closing CHS due to concerns over conditions and what the State’s own governor called “a violation of constitutional rights” and “a living model in what a system should not become.” However, only the secure treatment center portion of the facility ended up closing, and CHS has continued operating as a detention center.
  • In March 2005, State Police stated that a former Charles H. Hickey School resident was sexually assaulted by another youth inmate shortly after the Maryland DJS took control of the facilities with the intent to restore a “safe and secure” environment. State Police stated that the assault took place in CHS’ dormitory-like Mandela unit and that the 17-year-old inmate was sexually assaulted with a pillow placed over his face, and that investigations into supervisory issues were ongoing.
  • In April 2004, the U.S. Department of Justice issued an alarming report on the conditions at CHS and another notorious Maryland juvenile detention center (Cheltenham). The report, which was based on a two-year investigation, found (among many other forms of abuse and insufficient care) multiple instances of sexual relationships between facility staff and children at the facilities and noting that “the facilities have failed to institute adequate measures to prevent incidents such as these from recurring.”
  • In Mary 2003, a special report from Maryland’s Independent Juvenile Justice Monitor found over 20 suspected cases of child abuse and neglect at Charles H. Hickey Jr. School in the current year. The cases included multiple instances of staff engaging in sexual activity with juveniles and bringing alcohol, explicit materials, and other contraband into the facility, often in exchange for sexual favors. It also noted a case involving the discovery of a missing youth who was located following a car accident in Anne Arundel County in a vehicle registered to a female staff member, who was subsequently terminated and accused of having sexual involvement with the teenager.
  • In November 2001, an investigative report published by The Baltimore Sun found at least a dozen reports of sexual assaults by guards against youth inmates housed at the Charles H. Hickey School and other Maryland juvenile detention facilities, including Cheltenham and the Victor Cullen Center.

New Maryland Law Opens the Door for Charles H. Hickey Sexual Abuse Survivors

Maryland has been a frontrunner in passing legislation that greatly expands the rights of sexual abuse survivors – and especially survivors of child sexual abuse.

Thanks to the Child Victims Act, which was signed into law in April 2023, survivors who were sexually abused as minors in Maryland now have unprecedented opportunities to pursue justice against their abusers and any 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 went into effect on October 1, 2023, and institutions with long histories of child sexual abuse – such as the Catholic Church’s Baltimore Archdiocese and Maryland juvenile detention centers operated by the – are already seeing a growing number of lawsuits brought by survivors abused years and decades ago – including many filed by our firm.

At Levy Konigsberg, our award-winning attorneys are helping a growing number of survivors learn more about their rights and options under Maryland’s Child Victims Act. If you have questions about a potential case and whether you can file a civil lawsuit, we want to help.

Do I Have a Case?

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

  • You were sexually abused by a guard, counselor, supervisor, teacher, or other juvenile detention center staff member.
  • The abuse occurred at the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School at any time in the past.

Levy Konigsberg represents survivors in civil legal actions intended to hold the State of Maryland, Maryland Department of Juvenile Services (DJS), and other responsible entities accountable for their failures to stop abusive staff members and protect young inmates. This includes seeking accountability for negligent hiring and supervision, failures to adequately investigate complaints, and other failings in protecting youth that led to the facility’s rampant sexual abuse problem.

As civil claims, the cases we handle are separate from criminal proceedings and focus instead on holding institutions liable for damages. This means you may still have a claim even if:

  • Your abuser was never criminally investigated, charged, or convicted.
  • Your abuser is no longer alive.

Compensation for Charles H. Hickey Sex Abuse Survivors

Youth who were sexually abused at the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School can leverage the power of the civil court system to secure the justice and compensation they deserve. Because the effects of sexual abuse have been shown to profoundly impact survivors, resulting in lifelong problems with mental health, addiction, recidivism, and more, damages in these cases can be considerable.

Generally, sexual abuse survivors are entitled to compensation for damages such as:

  • 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 evaluate the potential value of your claim and how we can fight for the maximum recovery possible.

Call For a FREE Consultation: (800) 315-3806

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 Charles H. Hickey School and other Maryland youth detention facilities are stepping forward to file pursue civil lawsuits and a financial recovery of their damages.

Levy Konigsberg has been fortunate to earn the trust of hundreds of these survivors and is garnering acclaim for our ongoing efforts to help survivors in states like Maryland where groundbreaking, survivor-friendly laws are being passed. Recently, our firm’s work representing victims sexually abused at the Cheltenham Youth Center, another troubling MD youth detention facility, was profiled by the Baltimore Sun.

If you have questions about pursuing a lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred when you housed at the Charles H. Hickey, Jr. School, 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 (800) 315-3806 or contact us onlinefor 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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