Youth advocacy group sues state over Columbia Training School - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Youth advocacy group sues state over Columbia Training School

A youth advocacy group has sued the state of Mississippi over what it called "horrendous" physical and sexual abuse of teenage girls at Columbia Training School.  The lawsuit was filed Wednesday in U-S District Court in Jackson by the Mississippi Youth Justice Project Allegations of abuse at Columbia surfaced in May. The facility houses roughly 33 girls.  Among others named as defendants are Governor Haley Barbour and Don Taylor, Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services.  D-H-S operates the Columbia Training School and the Oakley Training School, which houses troubled boys.  The lawsuit was filed on behalf of six girls, ranging in age from 13 to 17.  The lawsuit says all of the girls suffer from mental illnesses and were sent to Columbia for nonviolent crimes.  The lawsuit, which gives only one side of the legal argument, alleges that five of the girls were shackled for 12 hours a day for periods of time ranging from eight days to about a month.  The lawsuit claims one girl was sexually assaulted by a male employee who kissed and fondled her while she was confirmed to an area away from other juveniles.

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