Personal Injury Law Firm
DEVASTATING LOSSES CALL FOR EXCEPTIONAL LITIGATORS
Our team of YDC Settlement Fund lawyers explains that the New Hampshire Youth Detention Center (YDC) litigation is a complex and deeply troubling legal battle that has come to the forefront in recent years.
In May 2022, New Hampshire took a significant step towards addressing abuse suffered at the Youth Development Center (YDC). Since then, the facility was later renamed the Sununu Youth Services Center. House Bill 1677 was signed into law, enacting RSA 21-M:11-a, which mandated the development of a YDC claims process. This process includes the creation of claim forms. The identification of necessary documentation. And guidelines for valuing claims for settlement purposes.
A YDC Settlement Fund was established by legislative action. They committed $100 million aimed at administering and settling claims of abuse at the YDC. This fund provides a victim-centered alternative to litigation, ensuring the efficient and fair resolution of these claims. Victims of sexual abuse can receive up to $1.5 million, while victims of physical abuse may receive up to $150,000. Home | New Hampshire YDC Claims Administration and Settlement Fund (nh.gov)
Former residents of various facilities have the opportunity to file a claim. This includes the YDC. It also includes the State Industrial School, the Philbrook School, the Tobey Special Education School, and the Youth Services Center. The claims process opened on January 1, 2023. All claims must be postmarked or received by midnight on December 31, 2024. Former residents are not required to use this process, but it provides an alternative to pursuing claims through the courts. YDC Claims Process | NH Department of Justice
Administrator John Broderick, Jr. oversees the YDC Settlement Fund. Residents seeking to file claims can access claim forms and information through the Administrator’s website.
Despite the stigma, survivors of YDC abuse have begun to share their stories after decades of silence. Some have come forward to shed light on their harrowing experiences at the YDC.
They have also recounted similar accounts of abuse, even though they range in age. Moreover, they spoke of sexual abuse and horrific experiences during their time at the facility. Their stories shed light on the consistent and traumatic abuse that took place at the YDC.
Survivors reported suffering in silence. They were paralyzed by threats from the staff. They described how compliance with the abusers was rewarded. Their stories serve as a testament to the resilience of survivors who have endured unimaginable trauma.
The legal battle to seek justice for YDC survivors has been ongoing for years. In July 2019, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office launched a comprehensive investigation into the YDC and its personnel. The investigation led to the indictment of eleven former YDC staffers on sexual abuse charges.
In January 2020, a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of more than 1,300 victims. The action sought to hold the state accountable for the abuse that occurred within the YDC. This lawsuit aimed to bring justice to survivors and ensure accountability.
A $100 million settlement fund was established to compensate survivors of YDC abuse. Some survivors have chosen to accept settlements while others have opted to pursue their cases in court. Official Notice of YDC Settlement Claims Process | News Releases | NH Department of Justice
The state of New Hampshire has made significant efforts to address the longstanding abuse at the YDC. The establishment of the settlement fund is a pivotal step in acknowledging the pain and suffering endured by the survivors. However, for many survivors, no amount of financial compensation can fully heal the deep wounds they carry.
The YDC facility is set to close for good in March 2024. The closure signifies a commitment to ending the cycle of abuse that has plagued the facility for decades. Jeff Fleischer, director of the NH Division of Children, Youth, and Families, indicated that a new facility will be built. This is a crucial step towards ensuring that the mistakes of the past are not repeated.
The stories of survivors sheds light on the enduring trauma experienced by those who were abused at the YDC. The legal battle to seek justice for these survivors is ongoing, with both settlements and court cases being pursued.
The YDC Settlement Fund represents a step towards accountability and compensation for survivors. The fund provides a victim-centered and trauma-informed alternative to lengthy and unpleasant litigation. However, as some survivors have expressed, no amount of money can fully heal the wounds inflicted on them.
Notably, there is also a push to share details of the criminal investigation with attorneys representing the survivors. This information is crucial in corroborating the claims of systemic abuse. 10 Individuals Indicted For Allegations of Abuse at the Youth Development Center (nh.gov)
The legal battle surrounding the YDC serves as a reminder of the need for justice and accountability. New Hampshire’s commitment to closing the YDC and establishing a new facility reflects a positive step forward. The survivors’ resilience will continue to be a significant part of the ongoing narrative surrounding the YDC litigation.
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