Youth Services Contractors Charged With Assaulting Teens

Most of the former employees of Volunteers of America, which was contracted to work with teens in Department of Youth Services care, were arraigned Wednesday.

Eight men who worked with juveniles in state custody in a residential program for males through DYS have been indicted for allegedly abusing and threatening some of the teens in their care.

Prosecutors say they were employed by Volunteers of America, which contracted with DYS to oversee the 15 bed program at the now shuttered Casa Isla, which was on Boston's Long Island.

The residents would be "punished" by staff for misbehavior, or before being discharged, through an abusive ritual nicknamed "orange chicken," according to prosecutors.

Assistant District Attorney Gloriann Moroney said, "This involved the residents having their pants pulled down and being hit on the naked buttocks by a DYS issued orange sandal."

The juveniles were removed from Casa Isla and the facility was closed shortly after an investigation into abuse claims got underway last August.

DYS also fired two of its part-time employees working at the facility, saying in a statement, "We are deeply troubled by this incident."

Volunteers of America said, "We are cooperating with authorities in every way we can, including turning over 2,300 hours of security camera footage," which prosecutors will presumably go through for any evidence of a crime.

"Almost all the victims and witnesses disclosed being threatened by physical harm if they told anybody about the assaults taking place in the program," Moroney said.

Seven of the eight staffers indicted were arraigned Wednesday in Suffolk Superior Court. They all pleaded not guilty.

One of the defendants Ainsley Laroche's attorney Michael Doolin said, "None of these young men have records before the court, this is completely out of character for them."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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