Kern County juvenile hall sex abuse cases resolve after appeals court win
Chain | Cohn | Clark has resolved several lawsuits on behalf of victims of sexual assault by a Kern County Juvenile Corrections officer while they were housed at James G. Bowels Juvenile Hall.
Settlements of $200,000, $250,000, and $400,000 were reached with the County of Kern on behalf off the victims, respectively. The final settlement was reached recently after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the victim, a Chain | Cohn | Clark plaintiff, who had alleged that in 2015 corrections officer George Anderson made sexual comments to her, groomed her for sexual abuse, propositioned her for sex and watched her shower. The appeals court found that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California erred in its 2016 decision and reversed it.
“These young ladies had a right to privacy, as we all do. The fact that we had three victims who alleged sexual misconduct by a corrections officer pointed to a systemic problem in the facility. Simply, this was an abuse of power and authority,” said David Cohn, managing partner and attorney at Chain | Cohn | Clark. “We’re glad these women received justice, and will be able to move forward with their lives.”
One victim alleged that corrections officer George Anderson sexually abused her and watched her shower. He allegedly made sexual comments, groomed victims for sexual abuse, and propositioned for sex. Specifically, one victim alleged Anderson made comments about her butt, told her about a sexually explicit dream he had about her, touched her face and shoulders and watched from a staff desk as she showered on several occasions. The department had received previous complaints about Anderson watching girls shower, it’s alleged.
In addition to seeking damages, the victims alleged they were failed by the deficient oversight, training, and practices at Kern’s juvenile hall, which provided the perpetrator with opportunities that he was able to exploit.
PAST MEDIA COVERAGE
- Legal claims filed for girls allegedly sexually assaulted in Kern juvenile hall (KBAK-KBFX / CBS-Fox – March 15, 2015)
- Attorney lays out sexual assault claims against juvenile hall officers (KBAK-KBFX / CBS-Fox – March 25, 2015)
- Local media highlights Chain | Cohn | Clark sexual assault cases in Kern County juvenile hall (Blogging for Justice – April 1, 2015)
- Attorney: There may be more victims of guards accused of sexual assault at Juvenile Hall (The Bakersfield Californian – March 27, 2015)
- Judge refuses to find correctional officer innocent in Juvenile Hall sex abuse case (The Bakersfield Californian – March 15, 2016)
- Two claims filed against Kern County in connection with alleged sexual assaults at Juvenile Hall (The Bakersfield Californian – Sept. 8, 2016)
- Law firm files claim against corrections officer stating teen was sexually abused in Juvenile Hall (KERO-23, ABC – Sept. 30, 2016)
- Lawsuit claims sexual abuse at Kern County juvenile hall (KBAK/KBFX, 58/29 – Sept. 30, 2016)
- Second lawsuit alleging sexual abuse filed against Juvenile Hall corrections officer (The Bakersfield Californian – Sept. 30, 2016) (online version)
- Lawsuit alleging sexual abuse filed against Juvenile Hall (KGET-17, NBC – Sept. 30, 2016)
- Girl alleges sexual abuse at juvenile hall: ‘going to eat me up inside if I don’t speak’ (KBAK/KBFX, 58/29 – Oct. 13, 2016)
- Attorneys appealing court’s dismissal of case against juvenile hall corrections officer (The Bakersfield Californian – Jan. 12, 2018)