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New Jersey Juvenile Detention Center Sex Abuse Lawsuits

Fighting for Survivors Sexually Abused in NJ Youth Detention Facilities

Findings from a U.S. Department of Justice report have revealed that juvenile detention centers in New Jersey have some of the highest rates of sexual abuse in the nation. These findings indicate that the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission and other facility operators failed to protect youth inmates from sexual abuse, and that they may be liable for damages suffered by survivors.

If you were sexually abused while incarcerated at a juvenile detention center in New Jersey, you may have grounds to pursue legal action and a financial recovery of your damages.

Levy Konigsberg is an award-winning trial practice known nationally for litigating sexual abuse lawsuits against powerful institutions, municipalities, and public and private prison systems. If you were sexually abused while housed at any juvenile detention center in New Jersey, we want to help.

Levy Konigsberg is investigating a growing number of claims from survivors who were sexually abused at juvenile detention and youth justice facilities across New Jersey. To speak with an attorney during a FREE and confidential consultation, call (201) 552-3136 or contact us online.

History of Child Sex Abuse in New Jersey Youth Detention Centers

Sexual abuse against minors incarcerated in New Jersey juvenile detention centers has been documented by various investigations, lawsuits, and high-profile payouts over the years. Some examples include:

  • In June 2017, a former inmate filed a civil lawsuit against the NJ Juvenile Justice System after he was sexually assaulted by supervisor Karen Selmon while incarcerated at the New Jersey Training School for Boys in June 2015. According to the suit, Selmon, who had a history of mental illness and sexual misconduct and later pled guilty to criminal sexual conduct, offered to provide the then 19-year-old inmate with contraband in exchange for favors before engaging in sex with him in an isolated area of the detention center. The lawsuit also claimed that the facility’s superintendent, Lionel Henderson, knowingly ignored a culture of improper sexual behavior within the Commission’s largest housing complex.
  • In April 2015, a former Union County guard who sexually assaulted a young male inmate at the Union County Juvenile Detention Center in Linden was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of fourth-degree sexual contact. The youth accused the former guard of nine months of abuse, which began shortly after his admission to the detention center at the age of 17. According to the lawsuit, when the inmate resisted, the abuser allegedly threatened him with beatings. Other guards knew of the assaults, but allowed them to continue, according to the lawsuit.

  • In January 2010, a report released by the U.S. Department of Justice found high rates of sexual abuse within New Jersey juvenile detention centers. The report also found that one facility in particular, the New Jersey Training School detention center in Monroe, was among 13 facilities nationwide with the highest rate of juveniles subjected to sexual abuse. According to the report, nearly one in every three juveniles at the facility reported some type of sexual victimization.

Given the DOJ’s findings and claims alleged by former inmates, a growing number of survivors are now stepping forward to seek justice by filing lawsuits against the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission. These claims focus on holding the Commission accountable for enabling rampant abuse within its juvenile detention centers and for failing to appropriately investigate complaints, respond to incidents of sexual misconduct between inmates and staff, and protect youth inmates.

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

Our attorneys at Levy Konigsberg are now investigating cases of sexual abuse and assault that occurred at any juvenile detention facility in New Jersey. This includes all secure facilities, residential community homes (RCH), and transitional, substance abuse, and special needs programs currently in operation, as well as 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:

  • New Jersey Training School for Boys (Jamesburg)
  • New Jersey Training School (Skillman)
  • Warren RCH
  • Voorhees RCH
  • Doves RCH
  • Johnstone Juvenile Medium Security Facility
  • Albert Elias at Johnstone (RCH)
  • Vineland Preparatory Academy
  • Essex RCH & Transitional Program
  • Ocean RCH
  • Southern RCH & Transitional Program
  • Union County Juvenile Detention Center
  • Female Secure Care and Intake Facility

Statute of Limitations for Sexual Abuse Lawsuits in New Jersey

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 are not able to file claims or recover compensation.

Fortunately, state lawmakers in New Jersey have recognized that the statute of limitations can create a profound barrier to justice for sexual abuse survivors, whom research has shown can take years or decades to comes to terms with their abuse and the damage it has caused in their lives. As such, New Jersey passed groundbreaking legislation in 2019 to greatly expand the statute of limitations in civil sexual abuse cases and provide survivors with more opportunities to file claims against abusers and any institutions that failed to protect them.

Under New Jersey’s current laws, the statute of limitations for civil sexual abuse claims are generally as follows:

  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse (abuse that occurred when the victim was under 18 years of age) have until the age of 55 to file civil claims against their abusers and any responsible institutions.
  • Survivors who were sexually abused as adults (age 18 or older) must file civil lawsuits within seven years of the last act of sexual abuse.

Determining the statute of limitations in your case can be challenging, which is why it is best to have your matter evaluated personally by an attorney. At Levy Konigsberg, our award-winning team has extensive experience representing survivors in New Jersey sexual abuse lawsuits against many powerful defendants and institutions, and can help you understand the statute of limitations in your case.

Do I Have a Case?

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

  • You were sexually abused by counselor, supervisor, or other juvenile detention center staff member.
  • The abuse occurred at any juvenile detention facility in New Jersey.

At Levy Konigsberg, we support survivors in civil actions that aim to hold the New Jersey Juvenile Justice Commission and other responsible entities 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

Call For a FREE Consultation: (201) 552-3136

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 for litigating high-stakes sexual abuse lawsuits on behalf of survivors nationwide, and for our ability to take on powerful private and public institutions that failed to protect victims. This includes public and private prison systems across the country.

If you have questions about pursuing a sexual abuse lawsuit over sexual abuse that occurred when you were a minor or young adult housed at a juvenile detention center anywhere in New Jersey, 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 (201) 552-3136 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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