New Hampshire

4 More Arrests Made in NH Youth Development Center Child Sex Assault Investigation

Eleven people have now been charged in connection with alleged assaults that took place between 1994 and 2007

NBC10 Boston

Four more people were arrested Wednesday in an ongoing investigation into child sex assault allegations at New Hampshire's state-run youth detention center, bringing the number of people charged in connection with the scandal to 11.

Seven men were arrested on April 7 The charges are alleged to have occurred between 1994 and 2007 at the Youth Development Center in Manchester, according to state prosecutors.

The Sununu Youth Services Center, formerly known as the Youth Development Center, has been the focus of a broad criminal investigation since July 2019. Two former counselors at the Manchester facility were charged with 82 counts of rape at that time, but the charges were dismissed last year in order to strengthen the wider investigation. Both of them were arrested again this month.

Seven men were arrested on April 7, prosecutors said: Bradley Asbury, 66, of Dunbarton; Jeffrey Buskey, 54, of Quincy, Massachusetts; Frank Davis, 79, of Contoocook; Stephen Murray, 51, of Danvers, Massachusetts; Lucien Poulette, 65, of Auburn; Gordon Thomas Searles, 65, of Brooksville, Florida; and James Woodlock, 56, of Manchester. All seven made their first court appearances earlier this month.

Six men have been arrested amid an investigation into child sex assault at a state-run youth detention center in New Hampshire.

On Wednesday, New Hampshire officials announced that four more men had been arrested for felonious sexual assault: Jonathan Brand, 56, of Concord; Victor Malavet, 58, of Gilford; Trevor Middleton, 52, of Belmont; and Stanley Watson, 52, of Allenstown. All four were ordered held without bail and are scheduled to be arraigned on April 22.

It wasn't immediately clear if the men had attorneys who could speak to the charges.

Some of those arrested were previously named in a civil lawsuit filed last year in which more than 200 men and women allege they were physically or sexually abused as children by 150 staffers at the Manchester facility from 1963 to 2018. According to their attorney, children were gang raped by counselors, beaten while raped, forced to compete for food in "fight clubs" set up by counselors and locked in solitary confinement for weeks or months.

"They were subjected to physical abuse in the form of beatings, sexual abuse of every kind that you can imagine, held in solitary confinement for weeks and months at a time," said Rus Rilee, an attorney representing the victims.

A state-run juvenile detention center in New Hampshire is accused of covering up allegations of rape.

The accusations against the 11 men arrested so far stem from alleged assaults that took place between 1994 and 2007, prosecutors have said. But abuse allegations related to the center stretch over six decades, with one person who has sued the state representing 230 clients who say they were abused between 1963 and 2018, when they were ages 7 to 18.

Prosecutors said in a statement Wednesday that the investigation into child sex abuse at the Youth Development Center remains "active and ongoing," and said the most recent arrests do not represent the culmination of the investigation. Anyone with information that could be useful in the probe can call the attorney general's hotline at (603) 271-4000.

"When my Administration launched this investigation two years ago, we pledged to leave no stone unturned to ensure justice was served," Gov. Chris Sununu said in a statement Wednesday. "Today’s arrests make clear that this Administration is committed to holding these perpetrators accountable for their detestable actions. This is not over and we will continue to investigate these horrific allegations."

The Manchester facility, now called the Sununu Youth Services Center after former Gov. John H. Sununu, the current governor's father, serves children ordered to a secure institutional setting by the juvenile justice system. The average population last year was just 17 residents overseen by about 90 employees, though it once housed upward of 100 youths and employed a larger staff.

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