Welfare officials ask judge to dismiss Miss. training school abuse case - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Welfare officials ask judge to dismiss Miss. training school abuse case

Mississippi welfare officials have asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit alleging eight girls were abused at Columbia Training School in May.

In court documents filed this week by the Mississippi Department of Human Services, the state argues the girls, who allege they were shackled for 12 hours a day, have no basis to ask for a financial payment. One girl also alleges she was sexually abused.

"It's so unfortunate that the state's going to use its resources to defend the indefensible instead of using its resources to resolve this matter in the best interest of the children," said the girls' attorney, Sheila Bedi of the Mississippi Protection and Advocacy System.

Bedi states in court documents the state should have provided mental health treatment to the girls, some of whom were suicidal while in custody.

Assistant Attorney General Shawn Shurden argues in court documents that legal mandates to provide mental health or rehabilitative treatments applies only to the mentally ill, not teens. He does not address whether the treatment would be mandatory for teens if they were suicidal and might have been mentally ill.

Since several of the teens have been released or soon will be released from the campus, their claims are moot, Shurden said.

The school houses teenage girls who committed crimes, including drug possession and assault. They typically stay six weeks to a few months, depending on the sentence.

After allegations surfaced that girls were shackled for longer than a week, the investigation widened when state representatives learned male guards asked one girl for sexual favors and guards gave the teens cigarettes.

DHS executive director Don Taylor said Wednesday that his agency's investigation is ongoing. One employee has been fired and five have been suspended with pay.

In 2006, the state agreed to end a lawsuit federal officials filed two years earlier over allegations of abuse. A federal monitor visits both Columbia and Oakley Training School for boys and recommends improvements.

  • Local NewsLOCALMore>>

  • Contraband found at Parchman work camp

    Contraband found at Parchman work camp

    Thursday, December 14 2017 5:02 PM EST2017-12-14 22:02:09 GMT
    SOURCE: MDOCSOURCE: MDOC
    Mississippi corrections officials discovered more contraband than expected during a shakedown at a Parchman work camp. The shakedown at Unit 26 of the Mississippi State Penitentiary, part of Operation Zero Tolerance, resulting in the discovery of canned and leaf tobacco, cellphones, cellphone chargers and marijuana. There were 557 offenders housed in the unit when it was searched Wednesday, according to an MDOC press release.  Officials also seized lighters, TOP papers, ea...More >>
    Mississippi corrections officials discovered more contraband than expected during a shakedown at a Parchman work camp. The shakedown at Unit 26 of the Mississippi State Penitentiary, part of Operation Zero Tolerance, resulting in the discovery of canned and leaf tobacco, cellphones, cellphone chargers and marijuana. There were 557 offenders housed in the unit when it was searched Wednesday, according to an MDOC press release.  Officials also seized lighters, TOP papers, ea...More >>
  • USM alum Brian Dozier honored with key to the city

    USM alum Brian Dozier honored with key to the city

    Thursday, December 14 2017 4:19 PM EST2017-12-14 21:19:38 GMT
    The city council chambers at Hattiesburg City Hall erupted in applause as Mayor Toby Barker presented the key to Dozier. (Photo source: WDAM)The city council chambers at Hattiesburg City Hall erupted in applause as Mayor Toby Barker presented the key to Dozier. (Photo source: WDAM)

    University of Southern Mississippi alumnus and Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was honored Thursday with a key to the City of Hattiesburg.

    More >>

    University of Southern Mississippi alumnus and Minnesota Twins second baseman Brian Dozier was honored Thursday with a key to the City of Hattiesburg.

    More >>
  • AP Explains: What is net neutrality and why does it matter?

    AP Explains: What is net neutrality and why does it matter?

    Thursday, December 14 2017 12:24 AM EST2017-12-14 05:24:37 GMT
    Thursday, December 14 2017 3:58 PM EST2017-12-14 20:58:14 GMT

    "Net neutrality" regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others, are on the chopping block.

    More >>

    "Net neutrality" regulations, designed to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favoring some sites and apps over others, are on the chopping block.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly