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Parole officer kept job amid child abuse investigation


A former employee of a New Hampshire youth detention center continued working with children in a state job for nine months after police began investigating allegations that he held a boy down while colleagues raped him in 1998. James Woodlock went on leave from his position as a

detention center continued working with children in a state job for nine months after police began investigating allegations that he held a boy down while colleagues raped him in 1998. James Woodlock went on leave from his position as a juvenile probation and parole officer in November 2017, well after David Meehan told police he had been abused in the 1990s at what was then called the Youth Development Center in Manchester, the state’s only juvenile detention center, the state attorney general’s office told the Associated Press. Officials won’t say whether his leave is voluntary, whether he is being paid or what, if any, action they took before he went on leave. They also won’t say when they learned of the allegations, though law enforcement officials said that in general, such notifications happen as soon as possible unless a delay is crucial to protect the investigation. All that should be part of the attorney general’s investigation, said Lyn Schollett, executive director of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “The prospect that an abusive adult continued to work with children for decades is incredibly alarming,” she said. “It speaks to the need for ongoing training and oversight of any institution where children live.” As a juvenile probation and parole officer, Woodlock would have supervised paroled youths, conducted presentencing investigations and monitored parental compliance with court orders, according to a posted job description. Such officers also have the authority to arrest youths who violate the law or are fugitives. Four months after his initial leave, Woodlock resumed work with the same job title, but in an administrative office at the Division of Children, Youth and Families, which oversees the detention center. The state would not say whether that role involved work with children. He went out on leave again July 23, a day after two former counselors at the center were indicted on dozens of rape charges, and two days before the state attorney general’s office announced a broad criminal investigation into the center ’s staff and operations from 1990 to 2000. Click here to read more



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