A former state youth detention center counselor accused of repeatedly raping a teenage boy in the 1990s faced his accuser in a courtroom for the first time Friday.
Jeffrey Buskey was charged in July with 56 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault against a teen at the Sununu Youth Services Center, then called the Youth Development Center. He was in court for a brief hearing on his efforts to obtain a lawyer, said attorney Rus Rilee, who represents the victim.
Rilee said his client, now 38, hadn't seen Buskey since he left the Manchester facility decades ago.
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"At the beginning, it was scary. By the end, it was empowering," he said. "Every experience like this, where he confronts the accused, makes him stronger. ... He wants to attend every hearing. He wants to let this guy see he's not afraid of him anymore."
Rilee said Buskey told the judge he couldn't afford the lawyer who initially represented him and is in the process of requesting a public defender. No one answered at a possible phone number for Buskey on Friday, and the voice mailbox was full.
Buskey, 53, of Boston, is accused of sexually assaulting the teen and forcing him to engage in sex acts, including once at gunpoint. Authorities also allege Buskey hit the boy, punched him and threw him on a mattress.
Another former counselor, Steven Murphy, 50, of Danvers, Massachusetts, faces 26 sexual assault charges involving the same victim. The alleged assaults happened between late October 1997 and late September 1998 while the teen was incarcerated, though the charges against Buskey allege other assaults happened at a private home.
The charges prompted the attorney general's office to launch a multifaceted investigation into whether other children were physically or sexually abused and whether other laws were broken at the center. The investigation's initial focus is on the center's operations and employees from 1990 to 2000.
Rilee has alleged that systematic failures resulted in physical and sexual abuse of multiple children over a period of decades.
The Manchester center serves children ages 13 to 17 ordered to a secure institutional setting by the juvenile justice system. It once housed upward of 100 youths, but the daily census dropped from about 60 to under 30 last year when state law was changed to send only those accused or convicted of serious violent offenses to the center.