Fighting for Survivors Sexually Abused in IL Youth Detention Facilities

Juvenile detention centers across Illinois have faced years of scrutiny over failures to protect youth inmates from violence and sexual abuse, and several have been identified by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as having the highest rates of sexual victimization in the nation.

From civil lawsuits and criminal cases involving abusive guards to alarming investigative findings, the record shows that the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) and other entities that operate jails or facilities that house youth inmates failed to reign in a culture of secrecy and cover-ups that allowed staff-on-inmate abuse to persist for decades.

Now, a growing number of survivors are stepping forward to file civil lawsuits against the entities that failed to protect them. If you or someone you love were sexually abused as a youth inmate in any juvenile detention facility in Illinois, Levy Konigsberg wants to help.

FREE Consultations for Victims of Illinois Juvenile Detention Sexual Abuse

Contact us today at (872) 253-1634 or email to discuss your case with our experienced legal team.

History of Child Sexual Abuse in Illinois Youth Detention Centers

Illinois’ problematic history of sexual and physical abuse within juvenile detention facilities has been documented by high-profile legal filings, criminal indictments, and sweeping investigations.

This includes a federal investigation conducted by the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics into sexual abuse at seven Illinois youth detention facilities, including Illinois Youth Centers (IYCs) in Chicago, Harrisburg, Joliet, Kewanee, St. Charles, Warrenville, and Pere Marquette:

  • In June 2013, the DOJ’s National Survey of Youth in Custody reported that Illinois was among the four worst states in the nation for sexual abuse in juvenile detention facilities. The DOJ report, which prompted emergency hearings in the state Legislature, showed that across all the state’s juvenile detention facilities, 15% of youth inmate respondents reported that they experienced some form of sexual victimization, a figure roughly 35% higher than the national average. At Illinois’ worst facility, the now-closed Illinois Youth Center in Joliet, 21% (more than twice the national average) reported having sexual contact with staff members, including contact by force.

In addition to the damning DOJ report, other high-profile cases involving staff-on-inmate abuse have shown that Illinois has struggled with a systemic abuse problem for decades. Evidence supplied by public filings and payouts have also shown that the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ) and various county-operated jails overwhelmingly failed to investigate complaints, report abusive staff, and protect youth inmates. Some examples include:

  • In June 2021, Antoinette Perkins pleaded guilty to felony official misconduct after it was discovered that she engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor housed at the Illinois Youth Detention Center in St. Charles. Prosecutors say the incident occurred in October 2020 while Perkins was employed as a juvenile justice specialist at the center.
  • In 2011, a male guard at the Illinois Youth Center in Joliet (IYC Joliet) was sentenced to six years in prison for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old in 2008.
  • In February 2007, St. Clair County agreed to pay $900,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a former youth inmate who was sexually abused by a guard. According to the suit, the youth had been touched inappropriately several times by guard Thomas O’Donnell Jr. when he was housed at the St. Clair County juvenile custody center in May 2005. It also raised allegations that the County negligently retained O’Donnell despite a history of questionable conduct. O’Donnell pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual abuse and other charges in April 2008.
  • In 2003, an employee of at the Illinois Youth Center – Murphysboro was arrested on multiple felony counts for sexual abuse. According to the state, the defendant was a kitchen supervisor at the facility who used his position of authority to take advantage sexually of several of the cadets who worked with him in the kitchen.
  • In 2000, a former teacher at the Illinois Youth Center – Warrenville was charged with criminal sexual abuse for alleged sexual contact with two teenage residents of the facility. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse in 2002.

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.

LK Investigating Juvenile Inmate Sex Abuse Across Illinois

Levy Konigsberg is now investigating cases of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse that occurred at any juvenile detention facility in Illinois. This includes all Illinois Youth Centers, various County Juvenile Detention Centers, and facilities and programs that are now closed.

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

  • Juvenile Temporary Detention Center (also known as “Audy Home”)
  • IYC Chicago
  • IYC Harrisburg
  • IYC Per Marquette
  • IYC St. Charles
  • IYC Warrensville
  • IYC Joliet (closed)
  • IYC Kewanee (closed)
  • County Juvenile Detention Centers (Cook County, St. Clair, Kane, Lake County, Will County, Winnebago, McLean, Peoria, Champaign, Sangamon, Madison, Adams, Franklin, Lasalle, Vermillion, Knox)

Statute of Limitations for Civil Sex Abuse Lawsuits in Illinois

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 will not be able to file a claim or recover compensation.

Determining the statute of limitations in your claim can be challenging, as there are many factors to consider. In Illinois, the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse claims brought by victims who were abused as minors is generally as follows:

  • Claims brought by survivors of childhood sexual abuse (abuse that occurred when the victim was under 18 years of age) may be commenced at any time for victims who were born on or after June 24, 1983.

If you were sexually abused while housed at an Illinois juvenile detention facility, the best way to evaluate the statute of limitations in your case is to have it personally reviewed by a lawyer. At Levy Konigsberg, our attorneys have extensive experience litigating sexual abuse cases on behalf of youth and adult inmates and can help you take the next step toward justice.

Do I Have a Case?

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

  • You were sexually abused by a guard, counselor, or other juvenile detention center staff member.
  • The abuse occurred at any youth detention center or county-operated jail in Illinois.

Levy Konigsberg represents survivors in civil lawsuits that aim to hold the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, County juvenile detention centers, and other facility operators accountable for their failures to stop abusive staff members and protect young inmates.

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

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 Illinois Juvenile Detention Sexual Abuse

Contact us today at (872) 253-1634 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.


Committed to Doing What’s Right

Over $3 Billion Won

We have represented numerous individuals and groups of workers, winning for them multi-million-dollar settlements and verdicts.

There's No Case Too Big

Our team has achieved groundbreaking victories in highly complex cases and has gone up against some of the toughest defendants in the country.

Trial Attorneys

Our attorneys excel in the courtroom and are not afraid to bring a case in front of a jury if a fair settlement for the client has not been reached.

A Thought Leader in the Industry

Our firm’s knowledge and experience are in high demand, and many news outlets have asked us to share our legal expertise.

Access to World Class Resources

Our experienced attorneys use cutting-edge technology and highly regarded experts to help us achieve the best possible result for our clients.

Changing the World for Good

We not only want to achieve the best possible results for our clients, but we also strive to prevent future harm by changing public health policies.


Hear What They Have to Say

Professional, responsive and very good at their jobs.

“From the first visit to my home, to my last visit to the office to collect my settlement, I was very happy with the services provided by this firm. They are professional, very responsive and very good …”

– Lisa Ross

They have truly gone above and beyond.

“I have been beyond pleased how Levy Konigsberg is handling my matter. They answer my questions in a timely matter and when warranted, ease my worries and concerns. They have truly gone above and …”

– Anne Fahey

I put my Faith and Trust into Corey Stern!

“Selecting a Law firm to represent me was one of the biggest decisions I’ve had to make in my life. I put my Faith and Trust into Corey Stern, and he exceeded all my expectations.”

– Dennis McGowan

With this team on my side we came out on top.

“Levy Konigsberg and team are a group of men and women that give their all, down to the receptionist. I had a case that was almost unbeatable but with this team on my side we came out on top. They keep …”

– Angie Garrido

Very happy with our settlement.

“My husband and I were VERY happy with our experience with this firm. They were always caring and really helped us go through this in a very hard time in our lives .We continue to be in touch with the …”

– Lori Rosa

Wow is all I can say.

“It has been a few years now but I needed to post this. My dad suffered so much from Mesothelioma. My brother looked into the law and our rights. Unfortunately he died also before anything was done. It …”

– Carol N.

Their dedication to receive the highest results for their clients was amazing.

“Working with Levy Koningsberg LLP was a very positive experience. Their professionalism and curiosity was outstanding. I was a pleasure working with this firm. Their dedication to receive the highest …”

– Emily DeRogatis.

Such a great team!

“The whole team at Levy, Konigsberg LLP have been extremely professional and kind during our most difficult time. They keep you informed during the process, check in often asking if there are any …”

– Kevin Kober

We definitely got the right law firm!

“Levy Konigsberg represented my daughter Linda, who was diagnosed with mesothelioma at 16 years old. She endured many surgeries and chemotherapy including HIPEC. She traveled the country seeking …”

– Mark Wells

Levy Konigsberg continued to help my family fight for the justice my father deserves.

“Levy Konigsberg was there for my father as soon as he was diagnosed with mesothelioma they helped him get medical treatment in another state that specializes in his condition and even provided housing …”

– Stephanie Vitale



Free Case Review