State steps in after 12-year-old reportedly sexually assaulted inside Wayne County juvenile facility

7 staff members suspended

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. – After months of reported problems inside Wayne County’s Juvenile Detention Facility, the state is now intervening after the alleged sexual assault of a 12-year-old boy in custody.

A statement from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services confirms its staff is already on site.

“We contacted Michigan State Police who are actively investigating these allegations,” said Wayne County. “We are working alongside them to support their investigation and to better understand al the facts.”

The MDHHS does not compromise child safety. It will continue to use its authority and resources to ensure the safety of youth in detention.

MDHHS was made aware of the serious incident and immediately initiated two investigations into the Wayne Juvenile Detention Center.

“While MDHHS does not own, operate or contract with this facility, the department will continue to use its licensing authority to review the actions of the Wayne Juvenile Detention Center,” said MDHHS.

MDHHS had staff on-site beginning Wednesday (March 15) and will continue to have an active on-site presence while the investigations are ongoing.

The JDF has been plagued with overcrowding and staff shortages for months. According to the county, the problem is the lack of treatment beds for juvenile offenders statewide, meaning kids waiting for placement are left at the JDF.

Last month a whistleblower sent a letter to the Wayne County Circuit Court detailing multiple problems inside, including the overcrowding was so bad offenders could be housed two to three to a cell. According to what the judges received, this leads to “Tensions and inappropriate sexual activity.”

Read: New allegations of overcrowding, unsafe conditions at Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility

It also alleges that detainees are destroying cells, and some violent offenders are allowed to roam around without supervision.

Wayne County says it’s assisting the Michigan State Police in that agency’s investigation into the alleged sexual assault of that 12-year-old boy.

Seven staff members have been suspended.

About the Authors:

Brandon Carr is a digital content producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with WDIV Local 4 since November 2021. Brandon is the 2015 Solomon Kinloch Humanitarian award recipient for Community Service.