Personal Injury Law Firm
DEVASTATING LOSSES CALL FOR EXCEPTIONAL LITIGATORS
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, the state of New Hampshire took a significant step towards addressing the decades of abuse suffered by former residents of the Youth Development Center (YDC). 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, with a commitment of $100 million, aimed at settling claims of abuse at the YDC. This fund was designed to provide 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, including the YDC, the State Industrial School, the Philbrook School, the Tobey Special Education School, the Youth Services Center, and others housing adjudicated delinquent or pre-adjudication detained youth, have the opportunity to file claims. The claims process opened on January 1, 2023, and all claims must be postmarked or received by midnight on December 31, 2024. While former residents are not required to use this process, it provides an alternative to the judicial system. 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 associated with their past, survivors of YDC 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 recounted similar accounts of abuse, even though they range in age. 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, as they were paralyzed by threats from the staff. They described how compliance with the abusers was rewarded with candy and snacks. 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. This lawsuit aimed to bring justice to survivors and ensure that those responsible faced the consequences of their actions.
A $100 million settlement fund was established to quantify and 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.
It is important to note that 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, the director of the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth, and Families, has 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 shed light on the enduring pain and trauma experienced by those who were abused. 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.
In addition to the civil proceedings, there is an important push to share details of the criminal investigation into the abuse at the YDC with the attorneys representing the survivors. This information is crucial in corroborating the claims of systemic abuse. It is also important in understanding why some perpetrators have yet to be indicted and arrested. 10 Individuals Indicted For Allegations of Abuse at the Youth Development Center (nh.gov)
The legal battle surrounding YDC serves as a reminder of the need for justice, accountability, and the prevention of future abuse. The state of New Hampshire’s commitment to closing YDC and establishing a new facility reflects a positive step towards ensuring the safety. The survivors’ resilience and the efforts to seek justice will continue to be a significant part of the ongoing narrative surrounding the YDC litigation.
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