MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) - The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is investigating two open sexual abuse cases in Macon.
This comes after a month long internal investigation to figure out why it was taking so long for the department to close sexual abuse cases.
Commissioner Avery Niles assigned his Advisory Committee to the task of comparing the number of actual reported sex abuse cases in DJJ detention facilities with the number of sex abuse complaints alleged in a recent federal survey report.
The Advisory Council hand-examine every open department case-file covering a period from January 1, 2012 through June 15, 2013. The DJJ found approximately 700 investigative files still open and undetermined on the books during the 18-month long period. This violates the department's policies and procedures.
According to a DJJ news release of the cases reviewed, 275 had some sexual connotation included in the original incident report complaint. Of those 275, 141 cases met the Department of Justice's definition of sex abuse or harassment—102 cases involved complaints of youth-on-youth activity and 39 cases involved allegations of staff-on-youth.
Twelve of the staff-on-youth cases remain open and under continuing investigations, including two facilities in Middle Georgia. The DJJ says one case is open at the Macon Youth Development Center and the other at the Regional Youth Detention Center. No word on how long it will take to close those cases.
"That's twelve too many and they've been waiting too long for final determinations," Commissioner Niles said in the statement. "We assigned those cases to investigators on loan from the Department of Corrections for expedited, independent follow-ups."
Three cases of staff-on-youth were substantiated. All three staff members were fired and two were referred to outside law enforcement for prosecution.
One month ago, Niles suspended 18 members of the DJJ Investigation Division along with their former director after the Advisory Committee's review determined the Investigation Unit was out of compliance with investigation deadline policies. All 18 investigators are back on the job—some were moved to different positions and all facing disciplinary action.