Ex-juvenile jail worker accused of slapping boy

October 08, 2004|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

A former worker at the Baltimore City Juvenile Justice Center has been charged with assault and child abuse, accused of slapping a youth during an incident at the facility about a month ago.

Roslyn DeShields was charged in a summons issued by a Baltimore court commissioner, but a state police investigator has been unable to contact her for about the past two weeks, said Maj. Greg Shipley, a state police spokesman.

If continued attempts are not successful, "the summons will turn into a criminal warrant," Shipley said.

The charges stem from allegations of an incident of abuse inside the juvenile justice center, which has been the focus of attention for severe understaffing, fights, escape attempts and fires set by youths detained there.

DeShields "allegedly slapped one time a juvenile in the face," Shipley said.

A supervisor observed the incident, and DeShields was fired, said Lawanda Edwards, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Juvenile Services.

DeShields, a Baltimore resident, had been transferred from another juvenile services facility to assist with staffing shortages at the troubled Baltimore center, Edwards said.

Last month, independent monitors issued a scathing report detailing poor conditions inside the center. The Ehrlich administration responded by promising to expedite the hiring process for additional staff, and providing more safety equipment for workers there.

During the monitors' August visit, the new $60 million center held 106 youths, but with enough staffing to supervise 48.

Juvenile services chief Kenneth C. Montague Jr. told a legislative committee this week that 11 more staff members will be ready to start at the Baltimore center by Oct. 26, but lawmakers were concerned that Montague was creating understaffing in other areas by moving workers to the Baltimore center.

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