NewsLocal NewsInvestigations

State monitor accused of 'improper contact' with teen at Wayne Co. juvenile facility

Sheriff investigates allegations as state suspends employee without pay
Wayne County  Dickerson jail
Posted at 1:05 PM, Jan 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-23 23:53:39-05

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A state employee working inside Wayne County’s juvenile detention facility was arrested over the weekend following allegations of “inappropriate contact” between the woman and a 15-year-old boy.

The employees, who has not been charged with a crime, has since been suspended without pay by the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Young people come here with all kinds of trauma, different backgrounds and things of that nature,” said Mack McGhee, the facility’s chief administrator. “This should be a safe place for them to be able to get themselves together.”

McGhee says the investigation into the state employee began after a county staffer reported witnessing something inappropriate.

“Internal investigators began to look into it and when it rose to a certain level, they decided they needed to turn it over to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department,” he said.

The female state employee was placed there by the Department of Health and Human Services, tasked with monitoring how Wayne County was running its troubled juvenile facility.

In March 2023, the state sent up to 5 monitors to the facility in response to an allegation that a 12-year-old resident had been sexually assaulted.

The state monitors were there to ensure higher quality of care.

“We are appalled at the nature of the allegations involving this employee, who has been suspended without pay pending investigation,” said Bob Wheaton, an MDHHS spokesman. “We are deeply disappointed that staff entrusted with the safety of at-risk youth may have taken advantage of them.”

The county would not elaborate on the alleged behavior, only saying it was “inappropriate."

“There cannot be any kind of relationship between residents and staff, and or adults in the facility,” McGhee said. “One, because it’s illegal. And number two, it’s a boundary issue. It crosses the boundaries of professionalism and conduct.”

For more than a year, the county’s juvenile detention facility has struggled with understaffing, overcrowding and abuse against staff and juveniles.

In August of 2022, two county employees faced termination following a scathing internal investigation into how 18 juveniles were able to escape from their cells inside the county’s detention facility.

Staff left the facility in droves, forcing those who remained to work long shifts and endure attacks by staff.

The chaos inside the facility led County Executive Warren Evans to call for a public health emergency inside the facility last March.

Contact 7 Investigator Ross Jones at or at (248) 827-9466.