Report details staff failures in alleged rape of 12-year-old in Wayne County juvenile hall

A 20-page state investigation report into the alleged rape and assault of a 12-year-old boy at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility in Hamtramck detailed numerous staffing failures where safety was supposed to be guaranteed.

"Really the report reads like, in my opinion, an indictment for rape against the county and the state," the victim's attorney, Cary McGehee, said.

Six staffers are now gone.

The 12-year-old boy said he was punched, beaten, and raped by other juveniles in the facility over several hours and during multiple incidents in March of 2023, according to the report issued by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The investigation report "just substantiates what we knew to be the case – and that was that the environment at the juvenile detention facility was such that it created an environment where this sexual and physical assault that occurred on my client was predictable and was just a matter of time," McGehee said. 

The report is only the latest review of long-documented issues at the juvenile center. A state official told Fox 2 numerous licensing investigations have taken place in recent months, with various violations identified.

According to evidence in a previous report, "the staff was not monitoring the children," McGehee said. "The unit that my client was sexually assaulted in, physically assaulted in… there was no line of sight which was required. They were actually told by supervisors not to do that – to just stay in the control room where they couldn’t see your kids."

Wayne County officials said changes are underway. 

Megan Kirk, a Wayne County spokesperson, responded to the state probe, stating:

"…A corrective action plan was immediately implemented as a result of this well-publicized incident, which led to the Public Health State of Emergency for the Juvenile Detention Facility. A total of six staffers (five direct care and one supervisor), that had been suspended pending investigation, were separated from employment with the County, after a thorough investigation substantiated violations of policies and procedures, including, in some cases, confirmed cases by the Department of Health and Human Services."

McGehee stated that, for a while now, there's been an ongoing dispute over who should be held accountable for resolving the issue.

"The state and the county were pointing fingers at each other, blaming each other for the abysmal condition that existed for children who are placed there and supposed to be supervised, and provided with a safe environment," McGehee said. "Obviously, that didn’t happen."

The family is pursuing legal action as one way of prompting change at the facility.

An investigation into the incident remains ongoing.