Investigation into Alleged Abuse at New Hampshire Youth Detention Center Unearths Troubling Past for Both Civil and Criminal Cases

Concord, New Hampshire – Attorneys for the state of New Hampshire began presenting their defense in a lawsuit brought by a man who claims he endured severe physical and sexual abuse as a teenager at the Sununu Youth Services Center. The trial sheds light on ongoing allegations of abuse at the youth detention center, as over 1,100 former residents have sued the state, resulting in an unprecedented criminal investigation.

Eleven former state workers have been arrested thus far, as more than six decades of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse have been alleged. The unique aspect of this case is that the attorney general’s office is both prosecuting the accused perpetrators and defending the state against the civil claims.

In the civil trial, the credibility of the plaintiff, David Meehan, is being examined. While one team of state lawyers will rely on Meehan’s testimony in the criminal cases, another team will question his credibility in the civil trial. Assistant Attorney General Catherine Denny cross-examined Wayne Eigabroadt, a former worker at the Manchester center and a similar facility in Concord. Eigabroadt reviewed reports detailing Meehan’s past misbehavior, including an attempted escape and an incident where he allegedly punched another teenager.

During further questioning, Eigabroadt admitted that residents were instructed to approach their assigned counselors with complaints. Meehan’s counselor, however, was one of the individuals he accuses of abuse, which prompted his attorney to question whether Eigabroadt knew about the daily sexual abuse Meehan claims to have experienced at the hands of Jeffrey Buskey.

Buskey, who has pleaded not guilty to several charges of aggravated sexual assault involving Meehan and three others, was a staff member at the facility. Eigabroadt’s testimony from the previous day was also challenged. He had mentioned seeing stickers with the words “No Rats,” which he interpreted as an attempt to enforce secrecy. However, Denny argued that the stickers were intended as a pro-union message.

The Sununu Youth Services Center, named after former Governor John H. Sununu, currently houses fewer children than before and is awaiting closure. Plans are underway to replace it with a smaller facility in a different location. Former residents allege a long history of abuse at the center, with claims including gang rape, forced sexual abuse, and extreme physical violence.

A $100 million settlement fund has been created by the Legislature, allowing former residents to seek compensation. Many plaintiffs are expected to pursue this option if a bill to expand the fund’s scope receives approval.

These proceedings shed light on a dark chapter in the history of the Sununu Youth Services Center and raise important questions about the responsibility of the state in protecting vulnerable youth. The trial continues as more victims seek justice and restitution.