Fighting for Survivors Sexually Abused in NH Youth Detention Facilities

Juvenile detention centers across New Hampshire have faced years of scrutiny over failures to protect youth inmates from sexual abuse. This includes the state’s primary secure juvenile detention facility, the Sununu Youth Services Center (formerly the Youth Development Center), which has been subject to sweeping investigations and hundreds of lawsuits over decades of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse.

Now, a growing number of survivors are stepping forward to file civil lawsuits against New Hampshire Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) and other responsible entities that failed to protect them during their stays in YDC and other state-run juvenile detention centers.

If you or someone you love were sexually abused as a youth inmate in any juvenile detention center in New Hampshire, Levy Konigsberg wants to help.

Levy Konigsberg is nationally recognized trial practice with a legacy of litigating sexual abuse lawsuits against powerful institutions, municipalities, and public and private prison systems. We serve survivors statewide and offer FREE and confidential consultations. Call or contact us online to speak with a lawyer.

New Hampshire Youth Detention Center (YDC) Settlement Fund

In May 2022, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office announced that a special legislative fund had been established for survivors who were sexually abused as children at the state-run Sununu Youth Services Center (formerly known as the Youth Development Center) in Manchester.

The YDC Settlement Fund was created following a sweeping criminal investigation launched in 2019 that found evidence of staff-on-inmate abuse committed by nearly a dozen former workers at the SYSC and another Concord detention facility, and the filing of hundreds of civil lawsuits brought by survivors with claims of abuse dating back to the early 1960s.

Here is some additional information about the fund:

  • The $100 million settlement fund allows for individual payments of up to $1.5 million to sexual abuse survivors and up to $150,000 for survivors of physical abuse.
    • As of March 2024, bill is pending in the NH state legislature to increase these payments to up to $2.5 million for sexual abuse survivors, up to $250,000 for survivors of sexual abuse, and up to $100,000 for those who were subjected to solitary confinement.
  • As of March 2024, over 100 claims have been settled through the fund, with awards averaging $492,000 per claimant.
  • The fund provides payments to survivors who were abused by staff at any of the covered facilities, which include New Hampshire’s Youth Development Center (aka the Sununu Youth Services Center), the State Industrial School, the Philbrook School, the Tobey Special Education School, the Youth Services Center, and any other facility that housed adjudicated delinquent or pre-adjudication detained youth.
  • The fund has a two-year filing window which allows survivors to file claims for compensation from January 1, 2023 through December 31, 2024.


Hundreds of former youth inmates have already stepped forward to file claims under the state settlement fund, but the fund is not the only way that survivors can seek justice and financial compensation. Other options may include individual civil lawsuits brought against the state and other responsible entities.

Our award-winning attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are helping a growing number of survivors explore their options for pursuing compensation through the fund and other legal avenues. If you have questions about a potential case, we encourage you to contact us for a free and confidential consultation.

New Hampshire’s History of Juvenile Detention Center Sexual Abuse

In addition to the $100 million settlement fund established for survivors who were abused at the SYSC, New Hampshire’s problematic history of juvenile detention center sexual abuse has also been documented through years of high-profile civil lawsuits, public payouts, and sweeping investigations.

These records detail a systemic abuse problem in the SYSC dating back six decades and show that facility operators such as the New Hampshire Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and Juvenile Juveniles Services (JJS) enabled a culture of unprofessionalism, secrecy, and cover ups that allowed staff-on-inmate abuse and misconduct to persist for years.

Some examples include:

  • In May 2023, the state of New Hampshire agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle a claim brought by a former Youth Development Center inmate who was physically and sexually assaulted by staff. The settlement was paid out of the YDC fund, which was created to compensate former youth inmates who were abused at the center over its decades in operation.
  • In April 2021, authorities made four arrests in connection to staff-on-inmate sexual abuse at state-run juvenile detention facilities. The arrests, which brought the total number of arrested youth detention staff that month to 11, included charges against three men formerly employed at the Youth Development Center in Manchester another case against former guard Victor Malavet, who was charged with seven counts of aggravated sexual assault in connection to the abuse of a female youth inmate housed at the Youth Detention Services Unit in Concord in 2001. The former YDC employees arrested were Jonathan Brand, who was charged with two counts of sexual assault involving a boy in 2007, Trevor Middleton, who was charged with engaging in a pattern of sexual assault involving a boy between 1999 and 2001, and Stanley Watson, who faces three charges involving the abuse of two male youths between 1997 and 1999.
  • In early April 2021, seven former YDC staffers were arrested in connection to the sexual abuse of a dozen teens. The arrests, which stem from a sweeping criminal investigation launched in 2019, included charges for either sexually assaulting or acting s accomplices to the assault of 12 youth inmates housed at the YDC between 1994 and 2005. The arrestees included Lucien Poulette (charged with 33 counts of rape, sexual assault, and other crimes stemming from the abuse of seven victims between 1997 and 1998), Bradley Asbury (charged with being an accomplice to the rape of a youth inmate between 1997 and 1998), Frank Davis (charged with six counts of rape and sexual assault against two victims between 1996 and 1997), and James Woodlock (charged with three counts of being an accomplice to rape between 1997 and 1998). Also arrested were Jeffrey Buskey (charged with five counts of rape involving four youth inmates between 1996 and 1999) and Stephen Murphy (charged with five counts of rape involving three youth inmates between 1997 and 1999). Buskey and Murphy were previously arrested on over 82 charges for repeatedly beating and raping a teen male inmate in the 1990s, but those charges were dropped to further the expanded investigation.
  • In July 2019, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office launched a sweeping investigation into the Youth Detention Center following the arrest of two former counselors, Jeffrey Buskey and Stephen Murphy), who were charged with beating and raping a teen inmate over 80 times in the late 1990s. The investigation ultimately resulted in 11 arrests of abusive staffers and the creation of the state’s YDC settlement fund.


New Hampshire Law Allows Survivors to File Civil Suits Over Child Sex Abuse That Occurred at Any Time in the Past

In recent years, New Hampshire lawmakers have passed groundbreaking legislation to expand the rights of sexual abuse survivors.

This includes the Crime Victims’ Right Enhancement Act of 2020, which eliminated the statute of limitations for civil lawsuits arising from sexual abuse and assault involving victims of all ages.

This law means that survivors who were sexually abused at the Youth Development Center and other juvenile detention facilities in New Hampshire can file civil lawsuits over abuse that occurred at any time in the past and may file lawsuits even if their claims were barred under the previous law.

Do I Have a Case?

You may have grounds to file a civil legal action if or pursue a settlement through the YDC Settlement Fund:

  • You were sexually abused by a counselor, guard, or other juvenile detention center staff member.
  • The abuse occurred at the Youth Development Center (aka the Sununu Youth Services Center) or any other detention facility in New Hampshire housing youth inmates, including:
    • The State Industrial School
    • Philbrook School
    • Tobey Special Education School
    • Mount Prospect Academy
    • Nashua Children’s Home
      • Jolicoeur School

At Levy Konigsberg, we help survivors explore their options for pursuing compensation from either settlement funds like the YDC Settlement Fund or civil lawsuits. Both of these avenues are separate matters from any criminal proceedings that may arise, which means that survivors can still file claims even if:

  • An abuser was never charged with or convicted of a crime; or
  • An abuser is deceased.

Our attorneys have extensive experience handling sexual abuse cases involving staff-on-inmate abuse at juvenile detention facilities, and can evaluate whether you have a claim during a consultation.

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


Call For a FREE Consultation:

Levy Konigsberg has recovered more than $3 billion in compensation for clients, including millions in compensation for survivors of sexual abuse. We’re passionate about helping survivors seek justice and provide the firepower they need to fight back against powerful institutions.

If you have questions about pursuing a lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred when you were a juvenile housed at a youth detention center anywhere in New Hampshire, we want to help. We 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.


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