Immigrant children being held in juvenile detention centers in Virginia say they were physically and verbally abused for years, an investigation by The Associated Press found Thursday.
Children as young as 14 have filed claims against the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Staunton, Virginia, alleging that they were abused after being taken to the facility for crossing the border illegally as unaccompanied minors. Officials accused them of being involved in gangs like MS-13, but AP reports that the children were detained in high-security and often brutal conditions without ever being convicted of any crime. The center has held around 30 children at a time, between ages 12 and 17, since 2007.
The lawsuit alleges that the children were often beaten while handcuffed, left naked in concrete cells in solitary confinement for days, and were shackled to chairs with cloth bags over their heads. A child development specialist who worked in the facility said the kids would often be bruised and even suffer broken bones, and developed severe psychological problems as a result of the abuse. Shenandoah officials denied all allegations of abuse or misconduct.
A 15-year-old from Mexico said he was handcuffed and put in a chair for punishment. "They took off all of my clothes and put me into a restraint chair, where they attached my hands and feet to the chair," he said. "They also put a strap across my chest. They left me naked and attached to that chair for two and a half days, including at night." He and other detainees recalled attempting suicide at several points during their time in Shenandoah. Read more at The Associated Press. Summer Meza
Prosecutors in Wisconsin say two 12-year-old girls lured their friend into the woods on Saturday to stab and kill her. The reason? They wanted to appease a mythological creature they read about on the internet.
One of the girls told a detective they wanted to become "proxies" of Slender Man, a "demon-like character" they discovered on a website, The Associated Press reports. After killing their friend, the girls planned to "run away to the demon's forest mansion," according to the criminal complaint. One of the girls said she sees Slender Man in her dreams, and believes he can read her mind. "It's extremely disturbing as a parent and as chief of police," Waukesha Police Chief Russell Jack said during a news conference.
The idea came to the girls last December, the AP reports, and they finally decided to set their plan into motion during a slumber party. The complaint says that they initially wanted to kill their friend at night "so they wouldn't have to look into her eyes," but put it off until the next day, when they played hide-and-seek in a park. They attacked the girl, stabbing her 19 times. One of the girls egged the other one on, telling her to "go ballistic, go crazy," the complaint said. The victim was able to crawl to a road where a bicyclist found her and summoned police. She was rushed to surgery, and is in stable condition.
On Monday, the girls were charged as adults with first-degree attempted homicide. They will return to court June 11 for a status conference. Catherine Garcia