Report: Officials Put Sex Offender In Charge Of Teen's Personal
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
October 25, 2005
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA--Allegations have surfaced that a teenager with intellectual disabilities was repeatedly raped at a Tallahassee juvenile detention center -- by a convicted sex offender that guards had assigned to bathe, shower, clothe and change his diaper -- and that guards who were told about the assaults did little to stop the abuse.
According to the Miami Herald, a Florida Department of Juvenile Justice report made public last week said that guards at the 56-bed Leon Regional Juvenile Detention Center put 17-year-old Lee Donton in charge of taking care of the personal needs of a 15-year-old orphan at the facility.
The alleged victim, identified only as "Robert", reportedly weighs 300 pounds and has an IQ of 32. He was placed at the lock-up facility this spring following his mother's death and after officials at Juvenile Justice, the Department of Children & Families and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities failed to find a suitable home for him.
Donton had been placed at the facility following a 2004 rape conviction. In July of this year, he was charged with two counts of sexual assaulting Robert. He is currently in a Tallahassee jail on those charges.
Juvenile Justice officials had said that the "star witness" who reported the rapes could not be trusted because he had given false statements many times before.
But the Herald reported Thursday that Tallahassee Police records show that two other inmates told officers they witnessed Donton sexually assaulting Robert. They claimed in sworn statements that they reported the crime to guards, who ignored them.
Later on Thursday, juvenile justice chief Anthony Schembri suspended the facility's superintendent and fired a lieutenant over the scandal. Schembri's actions came after members of the Florida House Justice Appropriations Committee questioned him as to why there had been no disciplinary actions taken, even though the case came to light 4 months ago.
John Hall, statewide director of the Arc/Florida, said: "Clearly, the system has failed this young man. Shame on everybody involved."
"State put disabled boy in sex offender's care" (Miami Herald)
"Police: Guards didn't report rape" (Miami Herald)
"State fires officer in rape case" (Miami Herald)