YDC Abuse Trial

Granite Law Group

On April 9, 2024, the first Youth Detention Center (YDC) physical and sexual abuse trial officially commenced. The civil action against the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) was brought by David Meehan, now 40 years old, who brought his claim in Rockingham Superior Court. DHHS is being defended by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. Judge Andrew Schulman is presiding over the case. The case is being closely watched, not just regionally, but nationally.

Former YDC Abuse Whistleblowers:

Thus far, the jury has heard testimony from four blockbuster whistleblowers who used to work at YDC in the 1990’s. They described a culture of secrecy at trial. One witness was Karen Lemoine, a former YDC guard, who left YDC after only two years of employment, calling the facility a “horrendous nightmare.” While she did not see any abuse herself, she observed children with bruises and fielded complaints of sexual assault. She brought the complaints to the attention of her supervisors but was ignored. The complaints were brushed off and she was labeled a rat.

Another witness was Wayne Eigabroadt, who previously worked in the New Hampshire police standard and training program before being transferred to YDC. He was transferred to the facility specifically due to his past experience. Eigabroadt was told by staffers and higher ups to use physical force if the children got out of line. When Eigabroadt brought his concerns to the campus superintendent, he recounted that “he really didn’t care about the training.”

Yet another witness was Virgil Bossum, a former YDC internal affairs investigator who was responsible for investigating complaints of abuse. He explained that his role was obstructed by staffers who broke the box where children would file their grievances. He recounted “sometimes [the children] would say [the staffers] broke the box.” When asked on cross examination whether his testimony was bias, Bossum testified “I picked the side of justice.”

Finally, Rochelle Edmark, another former YDC internal affairs investigator, testified about the resentment she experienced while conducting her investigations. She called the facility a “toxic environment.”

Former Abused YDC Resident:

With the groundwork of systematic failure now laid, the jury was primed to hear direct evidence of physical and sexual abuse. That direct evidence came through the testimony of Michael Gilpatrick, now 40 years old, whose stay at YDC overlapped with David Meehan. Gilpatrick testified to the numbing experience of abuse. He too has filed a civil lawsuit against DHHS, as well as some former YDC staffers who charged criminally.

On April 17, 2024, David Meehan took the witness stand himself. As outlined in opening statements at trial, it is expected that he will testify about his rough upbringing after running away from home at 13 years old and being forced to live in abandoned buildings before his detention at YDC and subsequent abuse. No human should have to endure such an environment, especially not an innocent child.

Expected YDC Abuse Outcomes:

Regardless of the strength of the case, legal questions still remain over what Meehan stands to gain in this trial. While he is rightfully seeking millions of dollars in recovery, there is a municipal cap that limits his recovery to $475,000 by statute. This figure is far less than what he would’ve been able to access through the $100,000,000 YDC settlement fund which caps recovery at $1,500,000 per individual. The fund was specifically designed to raise the cap in exchange for a more efficient process.

Our firm is actively handling these YDC matters. If you were a YDC resident who suffered abuse, our team of dedicated trial lawyers would be happy to offer a free consultation to go through the pros and cons of pursuing trial versus accessing the settlement fund.

Youth Development Center abuse trial: David Meehan on stand (wmur.com)

‘I was scared:’ Meehan takes the stand in lawsuit alleging NH enabled child abuse at YDC | New Hampshire Public Radio (nhpr.org)

Nine months in, 29 YDC claims settled for $13.4 million with 148 to go  • New Hampshire Bulletin




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