Federal prosecutors are ramping up their involvement in the investigation into allegations of physical and sexual abuse at a state juvenile detention facility for boys.
The U.S. Department of Justice has taken the lead in a criminal probe at Lincoln Hills, which U.S. Attorney John Vaudreuil said remains under review by a grand jury. At this point, he said the agency is collecting information from the state’s investigation, which will be presented to a regularly empaneled grand jury – as is done for any potential case.
Officials are also looking at whether a patterns and practices civil lawsuit may be warranted. Such lawsuits are typically aimed at pushing for corrective action within an agency that has shown a history of problems. Vaudreuil said the end goal in those cases is to develop a “plan going forward, with changes to structure, to procedures…that allows the agency to do what they want to do…serve their citizens properly.”
Vaudreuil said any decision on civil action would come from the assistant attorney general in the Civil Rights Division of DOJ in Washington, following an extensive review.
Vaudreuil said there’s no specific timeline for either investigation. “We go where the facts take us,” he said, even if that eventually means no charges are filed.