FOX 8 Exclusive: Guards describe 'daily' violence at Bridge City Center for Youth

FOX 8 Exclusive: Guards describe 'daily' violence at Bridge City Center for Youth
Updated: May. 23, 2017 at 4:42 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - "It's bad up in there. It's really, really bad," a guard said.

The security guard, who works at the Bridge City Center for Youth, said she was sexually assaulted on the job last week.

"The youths started playing this game where they would push them into to me, in hopes of touching me. The last time they did it, one youth actually touched my breast," the guard said.

The woman said she filed a complaint about the incident with the state's independent investigative services. The Office of Juvenile Justice told FOX 8 that every complaint filed will be investigated.

The guard said the female staff at the facility is often targeted.

"This is normal. A lot of girls get touched all the time," the guard said.

"I can speak for the females. It's a lot of verbal and physical abuse from the youth," a guard said.

FOX 8 spoke exclusively with other guards who all described constant violence on a daily basis at the Bridge City facility.

"I have seen kids get broken jaws, concussions and all that," said a guard.

"One-on-one fights is normal, but they'll have what they call G-fights, which is multiple dorms fighting each other," a guard said.

Although none of these guards witnessed it, a source told FOX 8 that a fight broke out last week that sent six of the offenders from the Bridge City Facility to the Jefferson Parish Jail. Our source said it was like an ambush on the guards when a security door was breached and the fight continued in the yard for about 45 minutes.

Two staff members were hurt.

The guards we spoke to said violence is usually between the offenders, but they've witnessed the staff getting involved, too.

"I have seen the staff pick verbally with the youth. I have seen staff actually set up a fight. They'll tell the youth, 'I want you to go get the youth because they did this to me,'" a guard said.

"Instead of getting fired, they would get another youth to do or they would do it outside where there is no cameras," the guard said.

They said several staff members have already quit, fearing their own safety.

"It's not safe for the youth or the staff. No one is safe," a guard said.

The Office of Juvenile Justice told FOX 8 there are more security guards working at the facility now compared to the same time last year. With the increase in the number of guards, the office said there was a decrease in the number of |offenders at the facility from 120 last year to 84 today.

Despite the claims being made some of the guards, the assistant secretary of the Juvenile Justice Office said things are getting better and more programs are being offered to the offenders, who range in age from 15 to 20.

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