Fighting for Survivors Sexually Abused in KS Youth Detention Facilities

Juvenile detention centers across Kansas have faced decades of complaints and controversy over their failures to protect youth detainees from sexual abuse. This includes local and state facilities implicated in criminal cases, civil legal filings, and high-profile scandals that have added to a growing cache of evidence about the negligence failures of facility operators, and the toxic cultures that enabled pervasive staff-on-inmate abuse.

Now, survivors are taking advantage of new survivor-friendly laws and growing momentum to expand their legal rights to step forward, seek justice, and pursue compensation through civil legal actions.

Levy Konigsberg is a U.S. News “Best Law Firms” rated trial practice known for litigating sexual abuse lawsuits on behalf of survivors nationwide. We’ve taken on private and public prison systems, juvenile justice agencies, and other powerful institutions, and have recovered millions of dollars in compensation for clients. If you have a potential case, we’re ready to help.

Our Kansas juvenile detention center sexual abuse lawyers proudly serve survivors across the state. We offer FREE and confidential consultations and handle civil cases on contingency, which means there are no up-front costs and no fee unless we win. Call or contact us online today.

History of Child Sex Abuse in Kansas Juvenile Detention Centers

Years of criminal cases, civil lawsuits, and high-profile investigations have documented a pervasive sexual abuse problem in Kansas’ juvenile detention centers. This includes various juvenile detention facilities operated by local county governments and the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC) in Topeka, which is operated by the Kansas Department of Corrections.

As these records show, agencies responsible for overseeing juvenile detention centers routinely fail to uphold their obligations to protect youth. Often, this is due to negligent hiring practices, supervisory failures, and an inability to dismantle toxic cultures that enabled staff-on-inmate sexual abuse, condoned the concealment of complaints, and kept survivors silent.

Some examples include:

  • In December 2022, authorities arrested former KJCC corrections officer Catherine Dutcher for having sexual contact with a 16-year-old inmate. Dutcher was hired by the Kansas Department of Corrections in August 2022 and worked for several months in the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex in Topeka, which houses youth convicted of crimes that would be considered felonies if committed by an adult.
  • In February 2022, former KJCC corrections officer Pedro Cruz-Garcia was arrested and charged with having unlawful sexual relations with a teen female inmate. After receiving a complaint about Cruz-Garcia and the victim, officials from the Kansas Department of Corrections investigated and confirmed the findings. Cruz-Garcia was fired by the DOC in early February.
  • In December 2018, an investigation conducted by the Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit found evidence of an alarming culture at the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex. According to the audit, which was based on investigations and a survey distributed to current and former employees, responding KJCC workers reported rampant violence and several cases of sexual relationships between staff and youth. Respondents also commented on a “pervasive boys’ club mentality” that cultivated a culture of concealment and retaliation that dissuaded employees from speaking out about issues involving staff.
  • In July 2012, a Kansas Legislative Division of Post Audit investigation revealed that the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex suffered from major safety and security problems that contributed to rampant sexual misconduct, assaults, and thefts. The audit cited numerous instances of inadequate supervision and training, top-to-bottom problems in management and culture, high staffing turnover, and employees with felony or drug convictions due to inadequate background checks. A follow-up audit in 2015 found that most of the problems persisted.
  • In 2009, Kelley Juvenile Justice Resources, a state-contracted operator of the Forbes Juvenile Attention Facility in Topeka, settled a lawsuit brought by a former inmate who was repeatedly sexually abused by a roommate when he was 12 years old and housed at the residential juvenile facility. The lawsuit, which was filed in Shanee County District Court, claimed that a lack of staff and inadequate supervision were to blame. Forbes was closed in late 2009 as a result of the incident and other safety issues.

LK is Investigating Sexual Abuse Claims from All Juvenile Detention Centers & Programs in Kansas

Levy Konigsberg is now investigating cases of sexual abuse and assault that occurred at any juvenile detention facility in Kansas. This includes the Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (KJCC), which is operated by the Kansas Department of Corrections as the state’s only juvenile prison, and various juvenile detention residential facilities operated by local and county governments statewide.

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

  • Kansas Juvenile Correctional Complex (Topeka)
  • Douglas County Criminal Justice Services (Lawrence)
  • Johnson County Juvenile Detention Center (Olathe)
  • North Central Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Facility (Junction City)
  • Reno County Juvenile Detention Center (Hutchinson)
  • Sedgwick County Juvenile Detention Center (Wichita)
  • Shawnee County Juvenile Detention Center (Topeka)
  • Southeast Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center (Girard)
  • Southwest Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center (Garden City)
  • Wyandotte County Juvenile Detention Center (Kansas City)
  • Forbes Juvenile Attention Center (Topeka)

Levy Konigsberg is investigating a growing number of claims from survivors who were sexually abused at juvenile detention facilities across Kansas. To speak with an attorney during a FREE and confidential consultation, call or contact us online.

What is the Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in Kansas?

Years of research have confirmed that survivors face many challenges when it comes to processing the effects of sexual abuse and coming forward to report it – especially if they were abused as minors.

As a result, great strides have been made in Kansas to educate lawmakers about these challenges and how they conflict directly with statutes of limitations that require survivors to file civil lawsuits within a short period of time. The result has been mostly positive, with the Kansas Legislature passing a long-anticipated law to bolster the rights of survivors.

The law (HB 2127), took effect in July 2023 and brought about the following changes:

  • Extended civil statute of limitations. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse now have until the age of 31 (13 years after they turn 18) to bring sexual abuse claims against abusers and/or responsible entities. State law previously required child sex abuse survivors to bring claims within 3 years of turning 18.
  • Temporary lookback period following criminal convictions. In addition to extending the civil SOL by 10 years, the law also eliminated the criminal statute of limitations for child sex abuse charges and created a three-year lookback period in cases where abusers are convicted in criminal court. This means that when an abuser is convicted of a criminal charge involving child sexual abuse, survivors will have three years during which they can pursue civil legal action – no matter how long ago the abuse occurred.

While these are significant changes that expand the rights of survivors, many argue they still fall short.

As the data tells us, sexual abuse survivors often take decades to process their abuse, connect their trauma to the harm they’ve suffered, and make the difficult decision to step forward and seek justice. According to several studies, the average age that child sexual abuse victims take these steps is 52.

This being the case, there is still widespread support for Kansas to eliminate the child sexual abuse SOL entirely and give survivors an unlimited amount of time to file. Additionally, advocates are still pushing for lawmakers to create a window during which survivors with previously time-barred claims could file lawsuits – a feature that was in initial versions of HB 2127 before it was dropped in the final bill.

Our sexual abuse team at Levy Konigsberg has championed the rights of survivors in states across the country, including many where survivor-friendly legislation and temporary filing windows have provided new opportunities for victims to seek justice. We’re available to help survivors throughout Kansas evaluate the statute of limitations that applies to their potential claims, and to discuss options if new and better legislation is passed.

Do I Have a Case?

You may have grounds to file a lawsuit:

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

What if My Abuser is Dead or Was Never Convicted of a Crime?

The juvenile detention center lawsuits handled by our firm are civil legal actions that are separate from criminal cases. They are handled in a different court system, employ a lower burden of proof, and are not impacted by the findings a criminal court makes when it comes to an alleged abuser’s guilt.

Kansas’ recent legislative changes implemented a provision that gives survivors three years to pursue a civil claim if their abuser is convicted of a crime, so a criminal conviction can have some bearing on a survivor’s ability to pursue a civil case – particularly when the conviction involves abuse that occurred decades ago.

However, the civil cases themselves, which focus solely on holding defendants liable for damages, are unaffected by criminal proceedings. They are also largely brought against institutions that failed to prevent the abuse, rather than abusers themselves.

This means that you may still have a viable claim even if:

  • Your abuser was never charged with a crime.
  • Your abuser was never convicted of a crime / was found Not Guilty.
  • Your abuser is deceased.

By bringing civil sexual abuse lawsuits against entities like the Kansas Department of Corrections and local government agencies, survivors are better positioned to secure the compensation they deserve, as abusers rarely have the financial means or willingness to pay jury awards or settlements to their victims. Claims against institutional defendants also have the added benefit of producing actionable changes to prevent similar failings and preventable abuse from happening to others.

At Levy Konigsberg, we work closely with survivors to explain precisely how their civil cases are handled and to guide them step-by-step through the process. We know survivors come to us after making incredibly difficult decisions to step forward and honor their trust by working tirelessly on their behalf. We can help you better understand the legal process during a consultation.

How Much Money Can I Recover From a Sexual Abuse Claim?

Sexual abuse lawsuits give survivors an opportunity to hold abusers and/or at-fault institutions financially responsible for the damages they’ve suffered.

These damages, which can include an array of psychological harms, mental health issues, and issues exacerbated by trauma (such as recidivism, addiction, and more), can be profound and far-reaching and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis when determining the potential value of a case.

Generally, our firm seeks to recover compensation for damages such as:

  • Past medical and mental health care costs
  • Future therapy, medication, and mental health expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish and psychological harm
  • Lost wages and future earnings
  • Other economic and non-economic losses

Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg has recovered more than $3 billion in compensation for clients, including more than $50 million for survivors of sexual abuse.

Our work fighting for former inmates sexually abused in women’s prisons and juvenile detention centers across the country has been profiled widely in the media – including the NY Daily News, Gothamist, and The Baltimore Sun – and has earned us the trust of countless colleagues and clients.

If you have questions about pursuing a lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred when you were a juvenile housed at a youth detention center, jail, or prison anywhere in Kansas, we have what it takes to help. Our Kansas juvenile detention center sexual abuse attorneys serve survivors statewide 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.


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



Free Case Review