(Matt Demlein, WRVA)

Northam Orders Immigrant Abuse Investigation

Lawsuit Filed Alleges Abuse At Shenandoah Valley Facility

June 21, 2018 - 3:03 pm

Richmond, VA (wrva.com) -  Governor Ralph Northam (D) has ordered Public Safety Secretary Brian Moran and the Department of Juvenile Justice to investigate allegations of abuse at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center.  The order follows a report by the Associated Press that immigrant children being held at the facility were beaten, handcuffed, held in solitary confinement, and occasionally, left nude.  A lawsuit was filed over the alleged abuse last October, and a hearing is scheduled for July 3rd in Harrisonburg.

The Center's lawyers deny the allegations.  The lawsuit alleges the abuse occurred between 2015 and 2018.  The immigrant children being held at the facility were sent there after being accused of alleged gang activity, however, a center official has testified it did not appear many were gang members.  The children are not part of the group being separated from their families at the border, but instead, came here as unaccompanied minors.