DALLAS — Conditions at a youth treatment center in Dallas were worse than officials originally described, according to a report by an ombudsman for the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.
The ombudsman cited a lack of supervision at the Lyle B. Medlock Youth Treatment Center, The Dallas Morning News reported .
The ombudsman’s report said that allowed for at least five teenage boys who were at the facility for sex offenses to engage in sex acts from November to April. None of the boys have alleged coercion or force.
At the time, the boys were sleeping on mattresses on a multipurpose room flood because of understaffing. Once the sexual acts came to light, the multipurpose room was no longer used, the report said.
The report said staffing shortages and a lack of communication among management led to the sexual incidents. It found that some guards had a lack of concern regarding the safety, security and welfare of the youths, and that some guards would often read or play games on their phones.
Terry Smith, the Juvenile Department’s executive director, said the department is holding weekly meetings with detention center leaders, conducting unannounced rounds more frequently and working to fill supervision officer positions.
Smith said the officers who didn’t properly supervise the teens will be disciplined.
The boys involved have been moved to the Jerome McNeil Detention Center, which has separate cells for each youth.
Chief ombudsman Debbie Unruh said the department’s efforts are a step in the right direction.
“It’s a definite improvement,” she said. “They have more to do.”
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com