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DOC Child Abuse Cover-up Continues as GOP Ignores Reports PDF Print E-mail
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Written by GBP Staff   
Tuesday, 01 March 2016 10:52

boy-in-docMedia reports reveal that since February 2012, state officials at the highest levels have known of attacks and sexual assaults at Lincoln Hills School for Boys without either contacting or fully disclosing the details to county officials, family members of victims and even law enforcement. Senate Republican legislators now shirk legal responsibility to investigate.


MADISON – The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sunday that in repeated cases stretching back at least four years, state officials now admit they don't know whether anyone bothered telling parents and local officials about assaults on teenagers at a troubled prison. It was a systemic failure that Gov. Scott Walker's administration initially blamed on front-line staff alone.

Since at least February 2012, state officials at the highest levels have known of attacks and sexual assaults at Lincoln Hills School for Boys without either contacting or fully disclosing the details to county officials, family members of victims and even law enforcement.

The pattern of not sharing glaring problems continued for years, according to leaders in two counties, state officials, former Lincoln Hills staff and a parent of a juvenile inmate. Meaningful change came only after the public learned late last year of a massive federal and state investigation at the Northwoods prison and the sister facility on its campus, Copper Lake School for Girls.

Republican legislators responsible for overseeing child safety laws have ignored these child abuse reports and failed to hold Gov. Walker’s administration accountable for the growing child abuse crisis at Lincoln Hills. Despite legal requirements to review annual child abuse reports, conduct public hearings and submit recommendations to Gov. Walker’s administration, Senate Republicans have refused to do their job and are now operating in violation of Wis. Stat. §46.981(7).

jennifer-shilling“It is against the law for Republicans to cover-up these reports of child abuse and refuse to do their job,” said Senate Democratic Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “As the FBI investigates alleged criminal violations, Republicans need to stop covering for Gov. Walker and start finding solutions to protect children from further abuse. Addressing these reports of child abuse and neglect is more than just a legal obligation. It’s our moral obligation to stand up for Wisconsin children who have been placed in harm’s way and ensure that justice is served."

While media reports have uncovered numerous child abuse and neglect cases at Lincoln Hills dating back to 2012, none of these cases appear to be included in public reports compiled by Gov. Walker’s Department of Children and Families. Democrats have questioned why these cases are absent from the public reports. Republican legislators, however, have refused to demand answers and continue to ignore their statutory responsibility to "conduct public hearings on those reports no less often than annually, and submit recommendations to the department regarding those reports."

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Legislative staffer Tony Palese contributed to this story.

 
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