Justice Department Suing Rader Center, Conditions Unconstitutional - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Justice Department Suing Rader Center, Conditions Unconstitutional

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Stories of violence and abuse at the Lloyd E. Rader Center have now prompted legal action. The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state Friday.

News on 6 reporter Ashli Sims has more on the allegations of violence and sexual misconduct.

This is not the first time the Rader Center in Sand Springs has made headlines for allegations of abuse. Just two months ago, The News on 6 reported police investigated the assault of a 56-year-old female staff member.

The Department of Justice says there's enough allegations of violence and sexual misconduct to call the conditions at Rader unconstitutional. After a two and a half-year investigation, U.S. attorneys filed a lawsuit Friday against the state of Oklahoma.

Governor Brad Henry was forewarned in a 2005 letter where federal prosecutors outlined dozens of disturbing allegations. In September of 2003, a female staff member was accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with a juvenile inmate twice in a linen closet. The lawsuit also lists several incidents in 2004, when staff members didn't intervene in fights between inmates, in one case the guard was accused of encouraging the violence.

Federal prosecutors say Rader staff also didn't do enough to prevent inmates from hurting themselves. In March of 2004, a juvenile offender cut his wrist with metal from a pencil eraser, pulled out previous stitches, and wrote on the wall in his own blood. The juvenile then made a rope from a towel and tried to strangle himself. The staff says they checked on the inmate every 15 minutes, but federal prosecutors say those checks weren't documented.

Rader does boast a 75 percent success rate, and when we talked to one former Rader inmate in October, he says the facility can help young people get their lives back on track.

"This place offers you the tools to rehabilitate yourself. They offer you the therapy and all that you need. Or they offer you a place to keep you away from society. It's whatever you want from it," said the former Rader resident.

There was no comment from the Governor's office, and the attorney general's office would only say they will review the suit and proceed accordingly.

Rader has long fought for more money to improve security and hire more employees. They even picketed last year when their budget was cut.
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