Criminal charges have been filed against nine former workers at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center in connection with sexual misconduct by employees against underage girls.
Also charged was the center’s Superintendent Damon Ellison. He allegedly failed to report to authorities evidence of molestation obtained six years ago from one of the victims. Investigators found a tape recording of her allegations in Ellison’s desk drawer.
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said today that when Ellison failed to act on the girl’s complaint, he sent a message to staff that sexual misconduct would be tolerated.
The charges follow a five-month investigation into practices at the center on North Keystone Avenue. Ellison has been suspended without pay, Brizzi said.
This is quite tragic. The juveniles housed at these detention facilities already have enough problems in their lives, let alone having to worry about being sexually abused by the people hired to protect them. Brizzi should be applauded for his actions today.
Someone who may not come out looking good in all of this is Judge James Payne, Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, who served as the juvenile court judge in Marion Co. for 20 years before joining the Daniels' administration last year. At least some of the these crimes took place on his watch. Speaking of his service as Marion Co. Juvenile Court judge, his biography boasts that he was "responsible for the development of a nationally recognized detention center."