NewsRegionWayne County

Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility staffer arraigned for alleged sexual assault of teens

Posted at 2:46 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 14:59:56-04

HAMTRAMCK, Mich. (WXYZ) — A staffer at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Facility has been arraigned on two counts of Criminal Sexual Conduct in the second degree.

The arraignment comes two days after charges were announced in the case.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office later confirmed that the staffer, identified as 33-year-old Svetlana Kuryanova of Farmington Hills, is charged in connection to the sexual assaults of a 16-year-old boy and 17-year-old boy while she was working at the facility.

At the arraignment, a not guilty please was entered by the court on Kuranova's behalf. She was given a $75,000 cash or surety bond. A probable cause conference was set for May 16.

The prosecutor's office says that on April 8 around 7 p.m., Kuryanova sexually assaulted the teens while she was working as a juvenile detention specialist.

“The allegations in this case are among the most disturbing ones that I have seen. It is hard to wrap my brain around the fact that this occurred in the Juvenile Detention Facility, and charged defendant is allegedly responsible for this illegal behavior,” Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said in a statement Saturday.

We're told that the incident was discovered by a new surveillance system the county put in place called "Birdseye." We're told staffers monitoring the feeds noticed some physical contact they called suspicious and launched an investigation that ultimately led to these charges.

Kimberly Harry, Interim Director of Communications for the Office of Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans, released the following statement about the allegations:

Wayne County will not tolerate the intentional exploitation of our youth. We will continue to prosecute any staff who compromises the safety and preys on the vulnerability of our young people and staff. We remain committed to upholding the integrity of public service.

On April 8, Juvenile Detention Facility staff, that leadership put in place to continuously monitor live video feed of the housing units within the JDF, alerted Facility Supervisors of suspicious activity involving a female staffer and two male residents. The employee was immediately separated from employment with Wayne County. The ensuing investigation resulted in the charges of criminal sexual conduct against the staffer.

This single bad actor is not representative of the values of Wayne County and the hardworking men and women of the Juvenile Detention Facility. Furthermore, she intentionally circumvented policies, procedures, and security measures that have been put into place to ensure the safety and security of the youth in our care.

Wayne County is committed to ensuring that all bad actors are prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

It's the latest incident at the juvenile detention facility. We've been covering problems at the facility dating back to 2022.

Our original reporting in August 2022 showed that attacks at the facility rose sharply, with juveniles regularly escaping from cells, and in May 2022, there was a riot where nearly 20 juveniles escaped.

Watch our report from August 2022 below

'We're outnumbered.' Understaffed Wayne Co. juvenile facility sees attacks rise sharply

Two 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.

Shortly after our story, in October 2022, the county moved juveniles from the facility in Downtown Detroit to a vacant Wayne County jail in Hamtramck.

Fighting understaffing, Wayne County moves juveniles to vacant jail

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

Earlier this year, a state employee working inside the detention facility was arrested following allegations of "inappropriate contact" between the woman and a 15-year-old boy. 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.

Watch our report on the state monitor below

State monitor accused of 'improper contact' with teen at Wayne Co. 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. Seven employees were also suspended.

Watch the report on the 12-year-old repeatedly assaulted below

State: 12-year-old repeatedly assaulted inside Wayne County juvenile facility

The state monitors were there to ensure a 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.”

An 18-page report issued by the MDHHS earlier this year concluded that five staffers, including a supervisor, provided "improper supervision" in March 2023 when the 12-year-old boy was repeatedly assaulted.

While the investigation concluded that the young man was physically assaulted, it did not speak to whether a sexual assault took place. The state report says the boy “did not allow” hospital staff to perform a sexual assault exam, but he maintained that a sexual assault had taken place.

A summary of surveillance video from the night of the alleged assaults said the 12-year-old 9:21PM ”wiping tears from his eyes and face.”