* Note: Neil Gehlawat is no longer an attorney with Chain | Cohn | Stiles *
Chain | Cohn | Stiles and the Law Office of Thomas C. Seabaugh have filed yet another lawsuit in federal court against the County of Kern and a juvenile corrections officer on behalf of a young woman who was sexually abused at juvenile hall.
This is the third case this team of attorneys has filed on behalf of a survivor of sexual abuse by corrections officers at James G. Bowels Juvenile Hall, and the second case allegedly involving officer George Anderson.
“The fact that we have three girls over the course of about six months, 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,” Chain | Cohn | Stiles attorney Neil Gehlawat said.
The victim, identified as “Jane Doe,” alleges that the sexual abuse violated her rights as protected by the U.S. Constitution as well as California law. In addition to seeking damages, the victim is alleging 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 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,” Seabaugh said. “This lawsuit is in the public interest, because it involves accountability and consequences for those who were responsible.”
The victims in these cases are represented by attorneys Gehlawat and Seabaugh. They filed two claims against the County of Kern in 2015 on behalf of two females who were sexually assaulted in separate incidents by Kern County Juvenile Corrections officers while the girls were housed at James G. Bowels Juvenile Hall.
In one of the cases, Jane Doe 1 was housed at James G. Bowles Juvenile Hall from June 2014 through February 2015. While there, she enrolled in the Pathways Academy commitment program. Throughout September 2014, Kern County Corrections officer Cesar Holguin Navejar allegedly sexually assaulted her. When she reported the incident, supervisors initiated an administrative and criminal investigation. On Oct. 30, 2014, Navejar was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting Jane Doe 1.
If you or someone you know if sexually abused by someone in power, contact our lawyers right away. Call 661-323-4000, or visit the website chainlaw.com.
- 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)
PREVIOUS CASE MEDIA COVERAGE
- 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 files claims against county, juvenile corrections officers (KGET / NBC)
- 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+)
- Girls claim juvie guards sexually assaulted them (Courthouse News Service)
- Local media highlights Chain | Cohn | Stiles sexual assault cases in Kern County juvenile hall (Blogging for Justice – April 1, 2015)