Workers at the Horizon Juvenile Center, which is located in the Bronx, use teenage inmates as “sex slaves,” a new lawsuit alleges.
Franklin Maldonado, an 18-year-old Bronx resident, said that after being placed at Horizon in 2013 and 2014, supervisor Natalie Medford told him that if he “took care of her needs,” he would get special privileges while behind bars, such as being allowed to use cellphones and watch movies. As part of the deal she was presenting to him, the suit alleges, Medford promised the then-15-year-old he would be protected from disciplinary action.
“I didn’t have a choice,” Maldonado said. “She was doing everything to make me feel I was doing the right thing. After a while, I started growing up.”
On occasion, Maldonado stated, Medford would take him from a segregated unit for punishment known as “the hole” to her office for the “purposes of engaging in sexual contact with him,” the suit alleges.
At least one other minor inmate was also being preyed upon, according to the suit, while male workers looked the other way.
In one instance, Maldonado's suit claims, a tour supervisor told him that female guards often engaged in sexual relationships with inmates.
After the Manhattan federal lawsuit was filed, the city's Department of Investigation and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office said they are looking into the allegations. No further details were made available.
It's incredibly disheartening to think that workers would be abusing their power to use inmates in such a manner, especially minor inmates. Hopefully, this case will be investigated in depth so the abusers can be brought to justice.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Joshua Lott