Three teens broke into a dormitory wing at Jetson Center for Youth on Wednesday and beat up a 19-year-old inmate and two staff members who tried to prevent the attack, an affidavit of probable cause says.
Michael Stewart, 17, Robert Bebee, 18, and Daquincy Stiner, 17, left the wing of their dormitory at 2:40 p.m. Wednesday.
Stewart then punched a staff member in the side while gaining access to another wing of the dormitory, the affidavit says. Stewart, Bebee and Stiner entered the other wing and repeatedly kicked and punched another Jetson inmate, breaking his arm and eye socket.
During the altercation with the 19-year-old inmate, Stewart and Stiner hit an employee while she was trying to break up the fight, the affidavit says. The injuries of the two employees did not appear to be serious.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested the teens Thursday and booked Stewart into Parish Prison on two counts of battery on a correctional employee and one count of second-degree battery. Stiner was booked on one count of battery on a correctional employee and one count of second-degree battery. Bebee was booked on one count of second-degree battery.
Jerel Giarrusso, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice, said Thursday that the altercation occurred and that three teens were arrested, but declined to provide details about the incident, saying it was under investigation.
Late Friday, Giarrusso provided some details and said more would be released once the office’s investigation into the incident is concluded.
So far, she said, the investigation has revealed that Stewart kicked in the door to a control center before backup staff could arrive and he activated an electronic control that let him into the wing where the 19-year-old was attacked.
Giarrusso said it is not clear how Stewart, Bebee and Stiner got out of their wing of the dormitory, but that the teens were “always in a secure location with all exterior doors locked.”
“In this case, public safety was never compromised,” she said. “The youth never left a locked, secure area.”
Contrary to the affidavit of probable cause, she said the 19-year-old victim suffered a nasal fracture and an injured hand in the incident, not a broken arm and eye socket. The employees reported minor injuries, she said, including bruises, a swollen ankle and a broken fingernail.
As to what sparked the attack by Stewart, Bebee and Stiner, Giarrusso said the Office of Juvenile Justice “will not speculate as to why youth got into an altercation.”
Giarrusso added that the Office of Juvenile Justice continually evaluates its policies and procedures, “and if changes are necessary they will be made.”
Wednesday’s episode comes after a series of incidents at Jetson in the past several months.
One Louisiana Office of Juvenile Justice employee was fired and three others put on administrative leave after three teens escaped from Jetson in late December.
The employee who was fired and one of the employees put on administrative leave left a dormitory housing the teens unwatched for eight hours between 11 p.m. Dec. 27 and 7 a.m. Dec. 28.
The other two employees put on administrative leave had failed to monitor the grounds at Jetson, which is on Old Scenic Highway near Baker.
The lack of oversight enabled Collin Aymond, 19, a convicted thief; Hank Clark, 16, a convicted burglar; and Chantz Nix, 16, a convicted rapist, to escape from their locked dormitory and lead authorities on a six-hour search before being arrested 8 miles from the center’s campus.
On June 2, a Jetson social worker was arrested and accused of having sex with a 20-year-old inmate. The social worker was fired prior to her arrest.
In August, Jetson was recommended to be accredited by the American Correctional Association, three years after the state Legislature voted to close the facility.
The recommendation came after the state began changing to a “therapeutic model” for juvenile services based on a model created by the state of Missouri, which emphasizes community-based services, positive communications, self-awareness and self-analysis among juvenile offenders.