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FBI investigating Cook County juvenile detention center

Friday, April 07, 2006
Chicago Daily Law Bulletin

Federal agents are investigating whether there were civil rights violations at the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center, which is in court over alleged abuse by staff members, the FBI said.
FBI spokesman Ross Rice said the Chicago office started looking into the facility after allegations surfaced about abuse of residents at the center, which houses about 400 juveniles.
''We are conducting a preliminary inquiry in an effort to determine whether there were any violations of federal civil rights committed at the facility,'' Rice said.
The American Civil Liberties Union alleges that children, and sometimes staffers, abuse residents at the facility.
The ACLU filed a federal lawsuit against the center in 1999 on behalf of its residents. That suit was settled four years ago when the county agreed to improve conditions, but the ACLU asked a federal judge in November to appoint an independent manager to oversee reforms at the center because the group was again concerned about the juveniles.
John Gibson, spokesman for Cook County Board President John H. Stroger Jr., said Friday that county officials ''will cooperate fully with the FBI's investigation.''
He contended that none of the recent allegations have been proven to be true.
''We've investigated each allegation thoroughly and nothing's been substantiated,'' he said, adding that the facility continues to work with the ACLU and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to improve conditions.
State Attorney General Lisa Murray Madigan also is investigating the facility over accusations that there were fraudulent payroll documents, grant applications and requests for payment.



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