- Associated Press - Thursday, February 4, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections has paid $450,000 to a youth who was sexually abused by a staffer at a Nampa juvenile correction center.

The youth, called “John Doe I” in legal documents, filed a lawsuit against the state last year contending that officials failed to take action to prevent him from being repeatedly sexually abused when he was a 15-year-old resident of the Juvenile Correction Center in Nampa. The staffer mentioned in the lawsuit, Julie McCormick, was later convicted of lewd conduct with a minor.

The state reached a settlement with Doe in December, but the terms of the agreement were sealed. The Associated Press recently learned the financial amount paid to the teen through a public record request.

The youth’s attorney, Bruce Skaug, said his client was satisfied with the settlement. He had a conservator - an adult designated to help represent the youth’s interests - and the conservator was also involved in reaching the settlement decision, Skaug said.

So far, 12 people including Doe have come forward to say they were sexually abused while at the state-run detention center, and some of them have filed tort claims or lawsuits. Doe’s lawsuit is the first to be resolved; five others are still pending.

Many of the allegations in the various cases are similar, with the plaintiffs describing manipulation and abuse by staffers at the Juvenile Correction Center in Nampa and contending that the center’s director and other staffers knew of the abuse but failed to intervene. In total, those who have come forward have identified at least half a dozen suspected abusers.

Because most of the lawsuits are still early in the legal process, it’s too soon to know how they will play out. If the state were to make similar settlement deals with the other alleged victims, however, the total bill could reach $5.4 million.

Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said it’s too soon to speculate on the possible outcome of the other litigation. He noted that the state’s Division of Risk Management is managing the claims.

The Idaho Department of Juvenile Correction has been improving practices based on the national Prison Rape Elimination Act, Ray said, and those changes have recently undergone a U.S. Department of Justice-certified audit. All of the state’s facilities were found to be in compliance with the federal law, he said.

“We are committed, as individuals and as agency, to providing a safe and secure environment for the juveniles in our care,” Ray said in a prepared statement.

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