If you were sexually abused while housed at a juvenile detention facility, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and a financial recovery of your damages.

Sweeping investigations conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice have revealed a long-standing problem of staff-on-inmate abuse in American youth detention facilities, as well as alarming evidence that the private and public operators of these facilities routinely enabled abuse by creating cultures of silence and cover-ups. Now, thanks to groundbreaking laws being passed in several states, survivors who were sexually abused in youth lockups are being given new opportunities to seek justice.

Levy Konigsberg is an award-winning trial practice known for litigating high stakes sexual abuse lawsuits against powerful institutions. Our firm is currently seeking compensation for hundreds of victims who were sexually abused at juvenile detention centers across the country and is available to help survivors with questions about their rights and the next steps.

If you have questions about a juvenile detention sexual abuse lawsuit anywhere in the country, we want to help. Call or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

Nationwide Representation for Youth Detention Center Sex Abuse Survivors

Levy Konigsberg is a nationwide trial practice with a reputation for representing sexual abuse survivors in claims against public and private prison systems, juvenile detention facilities, and other similar institutions.

Backed by a team of award-winning attorneys, we have the resources to help survivors who were sexually abused by staff in facilities, programs, and treatment centers across the nation.

Our firm is investigating potential claims from every state. You can learn more about our litigation focus involving specific locations below:


Federal Reports Detail Dark Legacy of Sexual Abuse in U.S. Youth Detention Centers

Juvenile detention centers across the U.S. have struggled for decades with high rates of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse.

These issues have been widely documented in numerous criminal cases against guards and staff accused of abuse, civil legal filings by survivors, and sweeping investigations conducted by local, state, and federal authorities.

This includes a series of reports released by the U.S. Department of Justice covering reported incidents of sexual victimization, which is defined as any sexual activity with staff and forced sexual activity with another youth – at nearly 200 juvenile detention facilities across the country.

As the DOJ reports have shown, youth housed in American juvenile detention centers have reported alarmingly high rates of sexual victimization. For example.

  • A 2019 report from the DOJ found high rates of sexual abuse in juvenile detention facilities across the country. The report found that youth inmates reported more than 2,460 allegations of sexual victimization in 2018, an 89% increase from the 1,306 reported in 2013. It also found that more than half of all cases of sexual abuse involved misconduct committed by staff.
  • A 2013 report from the DOJ found that 9.5% of youth housed in public and privately operated juvenile detention facilities reported one or more incidents of sexual victimization, nearly 8% of which involved misconduct by staff. The report also identified 13 facilities where the rate of sexual victimization reported by youth exceeded 15%.
  • A 2010 report from the DOJ found that 12% of youth housed at juvenile detention facilities reported sexual victimization in the previous 12 months, including a shocking 10.3% that involved misconduct with staff. Of the 13 facilities identified for having more than a 15% rate of sexual victimization, six had victimization rates of 30% or more, four had rates between 25% and 30%, and three had rates between 20% and 25%.

These shocking findings show that public and privately operated youth detention centers have long struggled to prevent sexual abuse, and particularly abuse committed by staff. They have also revealed some of the most concerning states and facilities where abuse has been especially pervasive. For example:

  • In New York City, the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx has been the subject of a federal investigation into sexual abuse of youth detainees by staff members. At least one Horizon staff member has been criminally charged with sexual abuse and New York City has settled numerous cases arising from sexual abuse at Horizon.
  • In Arkansas, the Arkansas Juvenile Assessment and Treatment Center in Alexander has consistently been identified as one of the nation’s worst facilities for sexual victimization of youth. In both the DOJ’s 2019 and 2013 reports, the center had the sixth-highest percentage of youth sexually abused in custody.
  • In Maryland, juvenile facilities across the state had rates of sexual victimization above the roughly 12% national average. According to the DOJ’s 2010 report, one Maryland facility, the Backbone Mountain Youth Center in Swanton, had a sexual victimization rate of over 36%.
  • In Pennsylvania, the Cresson Secure Treatment Unit has been repeatedly identified for having high rates of reported sexual victimization. In the DOJ’s 2010 report, 33% of respondents reported sexual victimization of some type while in custody.
  • In New Jersey, the NJ Training School detention center in Monroe was among 13 facilities nationwide with excessively high rates of youth sexual victimization. According to the DOJ’s 2010 report, nearly one in every three juveniles housed at the facility reported some type of sexual abuse.

Groundbreaking Laws Give Youth Detention Center Sex Abuse Survivors New Opportunities for Justice

In recent years, states across the country have worked to pass laws that make it easier for childhood sexual abuse survivors to step forward and seek the compensation they deserve.

These groundbreaking laws are based on widely accepted research into the difficulties sexual abuse survivors face when it comes to processing their abuse, the fact that it can take years or decades before survivors abused as minors are able to understand the connection between their abuse and the damages they’ve suffered, and the various legal barriers modern state laws have created for survivors who wish to pursue justice in the civil legal system.

Today, laws passed in a growing number of states are giving unprecedented opportunities for child sexual abuse survivors to seek justice. Many of these laws involve the extension of the statute of limitations, which gives survivors years or decades more time to file their claims, and some have eliminated the civil statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits entirely. Several states have also included retroactive components in these laws that allow survivors with previously time-barred claims to step forward.

Some examples include:

  • New York City. Under NYC’s Gender-Motivated Violence Protection Law, victims of sexual abuse that occurred in New York City can file lawsuits for financial compensation up until March 1, 2025 even if the abuse occurred decades ago.
  • New Jersey. Under recently revised New Jersey laws, survivors of child sexual abuse have until the age of 55 to file claims against abusers and responsible institutions.
  • Arkansas. Under Arkansas’ recently passed Justice for Vulnerable Victims of Sexual Abuse Act, survivors who were sexually abused as minors can file civil suits against abusers and institutions until age 55 or within three years from the date of discovery. The Act also created a temporary two-year revival window that gives survivors abused at any time in the past the right to file a civil lawsuit. This window opened on February 1, 2022, and closes on January 31, 2024.
  • Maryland. Maryland’s Child Victims Act of 2023, which went into effect on October 1, 2023, eliminated the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits based on child sexual abuse and created an unlimited lookback period that allows child sex abuse survivors to file lawsuits over abuse that occurred at any time in the past.
  • Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, lawmakers are currently reviewing pending legislation that, if passed as expected, would extend the civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse lawsuits to age 55 and created a temporary two-year window for child sex abuse survivors to file claims over abuse that occurred at any time in the past.

For survivors who were sexually abused at juvenile detention facilities, these and other similar laws provide an unprecedented opportunity to seek justice and hold facility operators accountable for their failures.

At Levy Konigsberg, our firm has extensive experience bringing claims under newly expanded statutes of limitations and lookback windows and is actively reviewing and preparing claims from survivors in states where survivor-friendly legislation is currently pending. We can evaluate the statute of limitations in your case during a confidential consultation.

Civil Juvenile Detention Lawsuits: Do I Have a Case?

Levy Konigsberg represents clients who were sexually abused while housed in all types of privately and publicly operated juvenile detention, youth treatment, and youth placement programs. You may have a potential case if:

  • You were sexually abused by a guard, counselor, volunteer, or staff member at any time in the past.
  • The abuse occurred at any private or public youth detention or treatment facility in the U.S.

As civil claims, youth detention center sexual abuse lawsuits focus on holding facility operators (which may include private contractors, municipal jails, county youth services, and other public entities) accountable for their failures to prevent abuse, investigate abusers, and protect youth. As such, they are not impacted by any criminal investigations or cases that may (or may not) arise from the abuse. This means that you may have a case even if:

  • Your abuser was never criminally investigated, charged with, or convicted of a crime.
  • Your abuser was found Not Guilty in a criminal case.
  • Your abuser is not solvent (does not have funds to compensate you) or is no longer alive.

Recoverable Damages in Juvenile Detention Center 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

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg is a top-rated trial practice that’s recovered over $3 billion in compensation for clients. Led by award-winning lawyers, we’ve built a legacy representing survivors in sexual abuse lawsuits across the country and have become known for taking on juvenile justice centers, prison systems, and other powerful institutions.

If you have questions about pursuing a civil lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred when you were housed at a juvenile detention center or youth treatment program, we want to help. We serve survivors nationwide and work on contingency, which means there’s no cost to hire 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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