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John Dowdy, acting deputy superintendent of the Youth Services Center (YSC), was fired in the course of the investigation and has since filed a lawsuit saying Mr. Stanley attempted to elicit negative information about other managers.

Mr. Dowdy said he declined. In response, the lawsuit states, Mr. Stanley warned Mr. Dowdy “that he needed to decide where his loyalties lied.”

Mr. Stanley pressed him for dirt on managers whom Mr. Stanley perceived as rivals or detractors, according to the lawsuit. When Mr. Dowdy again declined, Mr. Stanley told him he “better get on board” and decide whose team he was on or he “wouldn’t be around for long,” it states.

On July 12, Mr. Dowdy was placed on administrative leave. When he signaled his intent to hire a lawyer and file an equal employment opportunity complaint he was fired, the lawsuit states.

Numerous other employees at YSC, the city’s detention facility for youths awaiting commitment, were either demoted or transferred with little explanation other than Mr. Stanley was “restructuring” DYRS management.

“It’s a pattern of arbitrary firings and other moves that don’t make sense,” the lawyer for Mr. Dowdy, acting deputy superintendent of the Youth Services Center (YSC) said. “I just don’t have a grip on how the department operates except on an ad hoc basis.”

Replied Pedro Ribeiro, spokesman for the mayor, “DYRS is committed to ensuring a safe environment for both staff and children, and will make changes to personnel as needed to maintain that safe environment.”

In a recent interview, the supervisor named in the sexual-abuse allegations — a veteran juvenile corrections officer who maintains his innocence — said he has worked for good departments and bad ones in his 18 years on the job, but he’s never experienced anything quite like DYRS under Mr. Stanley.

“He’s willing to learn, but he doesn’t seem to know anything about it,” the supervisor said of Mr. Stanley’s grasp of youth rehabilitation. “The problem is that people are job-scared. Firings appear motivated to protect Stanley.”

Beyond concerns about leadership and character that have been voiced at all levels, the supervisor said an ideological litmus test is in place that offends veteran youth corrections workers. He said when he was vying for acting deputy superintendent at YSC, he told Mr. Stanley he was willing to lock down a youth who acted violently while in custody. The two butted heads, he said, with Mr. Stanley insisting on a softer approach favored by the advocacy community.

“I appealed to Stanley to take the handcuffs off the staff and let them do their jobs,” he said. “There’s no rehabilitation going on anyway.”