DJJ Named In Oconee County Lawsuit Involving Sexual Assault

Greenville DJJ Program Growing, Helping Youths (Image 1)

The Department of Juvenile Justice is in the middle of a lawsuit filed earlier this week out of Oconee County.

The lawsuit claims a minor was made to engage in sexual acts with an employee at Camp Ghigau, a juvenile rehabilitation center, near Salem.

The lawyer for the juvenile plaintiff in the case said his client was referred by the DJJ to Camp Ghigau after committing a crime. The client, then 15-years-old, stayed at the facility between September 8th and October 17th of 2014.

“We found out and employee was feeding our client alcohol, marijuana, and forcing him to have sexual relations with a female worker,” Attorney Jared Newman said.

He said his client already suffered from substance abuse.

He said, “We think the worst thing you can do to somebody in that position is to keep feeding their substance abuse.”

The lawsuit against the DJJ, Camp Ghigau, and the camp employee claims negligence. The lawsuit says the employee had sex with the minor at least four times at the camp. It also the employee was a risk for engaging in sexual conduct with a minor, and the department and camp should have looked more closely at the employee’s background. However, Newman would not comment further on that part of the case.

The lawsuit said the plaintiff suffered from depression and mental anguish.

“It’s an intolerable situation,” Newman said. “You know you have a camp designed solely for rehabilitation purposes, and you end up doing the kid worse when he gets out.”

Attempts to see if the employee named in the lawsuit was still employed by the camp were unsuccessful.

Newman said currently, they are collecting discovery and talking to employees at the camp trying to prepare for trial.

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