Police: Alleged Sexual Assaults at Thompson Academy "Unfounded"
|Thompson held a morale-boosting event before the abuse allegations came to light.|
"There is no evidence to show that a sexual battery occurred,"
The boy, identified only as D.B., said the first attack occurred sometime in January or February 2010. A 23-year-old counselor forced D.B. to give him a blowjob in the laundry room of the facility. Afterward, D.B. spit the evidence into a rag and showed it to another trusted employee.
But that employee didn't write an official report, call the child-abuse hotline, or contact police. She told a Pines police officer that she remembers hearing about the attack but that D.B. didn't give her a rag with evidence.
The employee told her supervisor, Barbara White, about the incident. White didn't bother to look for the rag or ask anyone to investigate. She told police she wrote up a statement, which later couldn't be found.
Meanwhile, Thompson's top administrator, Craig Ferguson, said his former assistant also knew about the alleged attack. But instead of calling police or the abuse hotline -- as procedure requires -- the assistant "basically did his own investigation and determined that the alleged incident did not occur."
Months passed, and the counselor accused of assaulting D.B. kept working. In August, he accompanied D.B and some other Thompson residents to a local dentist's office to have their teeth cleaned.
Shortly after they arrived, the counselor told D.B. to ask permission to use the bathroom. D.B. complied and came out of the stall to find the counselor waiting in the doorway for him. He asked D.B. if he was "going to do it."
"Do what?" D.B. asked.
"Suck it," the counselor said.
He locked the door, told the boy to get on his knees, and forced him to perform oral sex on him again, D.B. told police.
Afterward, D.B. returned to his dental appointment. He didn't report the incident to officials at Thompson.
In an interview with police, the counselor disputed D.B.'s allegations. He "absolutely denied asking the victim to perform oral sex on him on any occasion." He also passed a polygraph test.
D.B.'s lawyer declined to have him take a polygraph, because, he said, the boy was "traumatized" by the questions he was asked.
The Pines police officer investigating the case grew frustrated. He had no paperwork from Thompson and no physical evidence from the alleged attacks. He also was disturbed by some comments D.B. made during their interview.
"At one point the victim said that he didn't mind performing oral sex on the suspect," the officer wrote. D.B. added that "this was part of a plan where he intended to sue the suspect for doing what he did."
Last October, the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a federal lawsuit alleging that several Thompson inmates -- including D.B. -- had endured various kinds of abuse.
In the end, the Pines police officer said he had "severe credibility concerns" about the victim. And "due to the poor records-keeping by the staff at the Thompson Academy, additional investigative inquiries and obtaining of evidence could not be made." He closed the case.
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