In an ongoing pursuit of justice for several victims of sexual assault by Kern County Juvenile Corrections officers while they were housed at James G. Bowels Juvenile Hall, Chain | Cohn | Stiles has filed an appeal in one of the cases.
The appeal filed by attorney Neil Gehlawat of Chain | Cohn | Stiles, along with Los Angeles-based lawyer Thomas C. Seabaugh, who are representing the victim, was filed recently in response to the court’s summary judgment.
Chain Cohn Stiles issued the following statement in response to media inquiries:
“Our client alleges that she was propositioned for sex by a juvenile corrections officer at Juvenile Hall, who also engaged in voyeurism by watching her in the shower on multiple occasions. She is one of three former wards who we have represented, all of whom alleged that they were the victims of sexual misconduct by corrections officers at juvenile hall.
“The federal district court ruled in December in this case that even if our client’s allegations were true, that the conduct she alleged would not violate the constitution. We are currently in the process of appealing that decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Civil rights cases against law enforcement are often protracted and difficult, but we remain committed to obtaining justice for our client.”
The victim alleges in a lawsuit that Juvenile Hall corrections officer George Anderson sexually abused her and watched her shower. She is one of three alleged victims of sexual abuse by corrections officers at James G. Bowels Juvenile Hall represented by Chain | Cohn | Stiles. In addition to seeking damages, the victim alleges that she was failed by the deficient oversight, training, and practices at Kern’s juvenile hall, which provided the perpetrator with opportunities that he was able to exploit.
“The fact that we have three girls … who have come forward to report sexual abuse by corrections officers, points to systemic problems at juvenile hall, and not just a few bad apples,” Gehlawat told local media upon the filing of the lawsuits in September 2016.
Seabaugh added: “The purpose of these victims’ stay at juvenile hall was to help them to get back on the path towards a normal life. Instead, law enforcement officers exploited their power and authority over these girls, who already represent some of the most vulnerable members of our society, with devastating consequences for the survivors and their families. This lawsuit is in the public interest, because it involves accountability and consequences for those who were responsible.”
* Note: Neil Gehlawat is no longer an attorney at Chain | Cohn | Stiles *
- Attorneys appealing court’s dismissal of case against juvenile hall corrections officer (The Bakersfield Californian – Jan. 12, 2018)
PREVIOUS MEDIA COVERAGE
- Law firm files claim against corrections officer stating teen was sexually abused in Juvenile Hall (KERO-23, ABC – Sept. 30, 2016)
- Lawsuit claims sexual abuse at Kern County juvenile hall (KBAK/KBFX, 58/29 – Sept. 30, 2016)
- Second lawsuit alleging sexual abuse filed against Juvenile Hall corrections officer (The Bakersfield Californian – Sept. 30, 2016) (online version)
- Lawsuit alleging sexual abuse filed against Juvenile Hall (KGET-17, NBC – Sept. 30, 2016)
- Girl alleges sexual abuse at juvenile hall: ‘going to eat me up inside if I don’t speak’ (KBAK/KBFX, 58/29 – Oct. 13, 2016)
- Judge refuses to find correctional officer innocent in Juvenile Hall sex abuse case (The Bakersfield Californian)
- Legal claims filed for girls allegedly sexually assaulted in Kern juvenile hall (KBAK-KBFX / CBS-Fox)
- Two claims filed against Kern County in connection with alleged sexual assaults at Juvenile Hall (The Bakersfield Californian)
- Attorney: There may be more victims of guards accused of sexual assault at Juvenile Hall (The Bakersfield Californian)
- Attorney lays out sexual assault claims against juvenile hall officers (KBAK-KBFX / CBS-Fox)
- Neil Gehlawat hosts a press conference (Instagram)
- Neil Gehlawat sits in with The Bakersfield Californian CEO Richard Beene on “First Look with Scott Cox” (Google+)
- Local media highlights Chain | Cohn | Stiles sexual assault cases in Kern County juvenile hall(Blogging for Justice – April 1, 2015)