Former residents of the Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester, previously the Youth Development Center, are calling for federal authorities to initiate an investigation into allegations of serious physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Sununu Youth Services Center has been the focus of a state-led investigation since 2019. Additionally, nearly 1,000 former residents have already filed Sununu Youth Services Center lawsuits. However, the slow pace of these cases has left many survivors disheartened. Recently, former residents called upon the U.S. Department of Justice to step in and open its own investigation in hopes of expediting the process.
Those who spent time at Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester and experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse may be entitled to financial compensation for what they’ve been through. The former Youth Development Center is a state-run organization that was charged with counseling, rehabilitating—and protecting—residents. As a result, the facility had a duty to protect the health and safety of residents. Engaging in any type of physical abuse is certainly a violation of this duty, and those who were subjected to this treatment can take steps to hold the facility responsible through a Sununu Youth Services Center lawsuit. Those interested in learning more should reach out to a Sununu Youth Services Center lawyer for immediate assistance.
What Are the Allegations Involving the Former Youth Development Center?
According to the various Youth Development Center lawsuits already underway, the facility was allegedly complicit in what has been described as rampant sexual abuse. One former resident explains that, within a week of arriving at the Youth Development Center, he woke up in the middle of the night after having a nightmare. Staff members apparently came into his room, not to help him, but to keep him quiet. They restrained him and wrapped a towel over his head. When the young man continued screaming, staff physically beat him. Eventually, the young man was moved to another housing unit, where, as he put it, staff “wanted to demasculate us and humiliate us and do something that would break us.” He reports having been raped by three staff members and beaten by about a dozen others.
The young man’s report is consistent with that of another former resident, who explained that female staff members would turn a blind eye when male staff would show up at the young woman’s room in the middle of the night to sexually assault her.
Can Survivors of Abuse Sue Their Perpetrators?
Survivors of abuse, whether it is sexual, physical, or emotional, have the right to seek justice through the legal system, including suing their perpetrators in civil court. In nearly all states, survivors can file a lawsuit against their abusers to claim damages for physical injury, emotional distress, medical expenses, and other harms they have suffered as a result of the abuse. Victims of abuse may also be able to sue facilities that allow abuse to occur. If successful, survivors can recover monetary damages to compensate them for the economic and non-economic damages they sustained.
These lawsuits are independent of the criminal justice process, which can lead to the perpetrator being prosecuted and potentially incarcerated. In fact, criminal and civil cases require different burdens of proof, so it is possible that a facility may be found civilly liable for enabling abuse even if the actual abuse was never criminally prosecuted or if they were prosecuted but not convicted.
Is There Currently a Sununu Youth Services Center Lawsuit?
Yes, currently, a group of approximately 1,000 former residents has filed a Sununu Youth Services Center lawsuit against the facility, seeking monetary compensation for the abuse they were subjected to while at the facility.
There are also several criminal cases that have been filed against former staff members. In fact, ten former staff members have been charged with either sexually assaulting or acting as accomplices to the assault of more than a dozen teenagers between 1994 and 2007. However, while these criminal cases may provide victims with a sense of justice, criminal judges are limited in their ability to offer survivors of abuse monetary compensation. Thus, survivors must successfully pursue a Youth Development Center lawsuit to obtain compensation from the facility.
What Financial Damages May Be Available Through a Sununu Youth Services Center Lawsuit?
Survivors who successfully bring a Youth Development Center lawsuit may be able to recover money damages designed to compensate them for the horrors they were forced to endure. While every abuse lawsuit is unique, in general, successful parties may be able to recover damages for the following:
Medical Expenses: Compensation for medical expenses includes amounts for past and future medical expenses resulting from the abuse. This includes doctors’ appointments, physical therapy, medications, and any other medical treatment related to the abuse.
Therapeutic Expenses: Therapeutic expenses include the costs associated with therapy and psychological counseling needed to address trauma and emotional distress.
Pain and Suffering: Pain and suffering damages are intended to compensate survivors for the physical and emotional pain they endured as a result of the abuse.
Lost Wages and Lost Earning Capacity: If the abuse resulted in an inability to work or diminished earning capacity, survivors can seek damages to compensate for lost wages and loss of future earnings.
Punitive Damages: In cases where the conduct of the institution or its staff is found to be particularly egregious, the court might award punitive damages to punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.
Those interested in learning more about these lawsuits should consult with an experienced Sununu Youth Services Center / Youth Development Center lawsuit for assistance.