UPDATE: Six Juveniles Charged in Riot at Parkersburg Facility

By: WTAP News Email
By: WTAP News Email
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UPDATE 6/4/2014 2:30 PM

Six juveniles are facing charges related to a riot at a Parkersburg juvenile center.

It happened February 18 at the Lorrie Yeager Jr. Juvenile Center.

State police say two boys physically assaulted correctional officers, staff and other juveniles.

They say two other boys then joined them, assaulting staff members with tables and chairs.

Two girls are also accused of joining in the disturbance.

Authorities say the juveniles damaged glass windows, sprinkler heads and other property in multiple rooms, causing more than $40,000 worth of damage.

They are also accused of making weapons using scissors and metal rods from a foosball table and threatening to use them against correctional officers.

The four boys are charged with destruction of a building by rioters, felony destruction of property, attempted escape and possession of a weapon by an inmate at a juvenile detention center.

The two girls are charged with destruction of a building by rioters and felony destruction of property.


UPDATE 3/14/2014 10:34 AM

Last month they broke windows, destroyed heating and cooling duct work and dismantled sprinkler systems, because they were upset with disciplinary action.

These are tough teens blamed for thousands in damage.

"There was chairs flying around, the residents that were involved in this throw plastic chairs at our staff,” says James Goddard, director of operations for the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services (WVDJS).

It was touch and go there for a while, as six residents of the Lorrie Yeager Detention Center took over this room, causing a near riot.

"They'd seen an opportunity, took advantage of it,” Goddard says.

The residents didn't leave the building and no security barriers were breached.

"But it was definitely an out-of-control situation; the residents took control of the unit and our staff had just enough time to remove the people that weren't involved and get them to safety,” Goddard says.

Control of the facility comes down to the officer's presence.

"And the procedures that you have in place and it's a fragile balance,” Goddard says.

The goal is rehabilitation.

"That's why we keep 'em here even if they are 19, 20 years old because there's still hope that what we do program wise will help them succeed as adults,” Goddard says. “As far as recidivism, I mean it's the national standard."

WVDJS takes this kind of situation very seriously.

"We're working with the state police and local law enforcement on developing emergency plans in case this ever would happen again that we can address it rapidly and correctly, and we're doing training for our staff to help prevent this,” Goddard says.

He says they hope to continue as they have been. The facility opened in 2005 and never had a problem of this magnitude.

They're still waiting on an official estimate of the damage.
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UPDATE 3/13/2014 5:00 PM

It sent the facility into a tailspin last month.

A near riot at the Lorrie Yeager Juvenile Detention Center was caused by six teens upset with discipline.

James Goddard, director of operations for the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services says the four boys and two girls saw an opportunity and took advantage of it.

It became an out-of-control situation and the staff had just enough time to remove those who weren't involved and get them to safety.

"We've taken this situation very seriously and we're working with the state police and local law enforcement on developing emergency plans in case this ever would happen again that we can address it rapidly and correctly," Goddard says. "We're doing training for our staff to help prevent this from happening."

He hopes they continue as they have been.

The facility opened in 2005 and never had a problem of this magnitude.

There was thousands of dollars worth of damage, but they're still waiting on an official estimate.


UPDATE 2/21/2014 4:40 PM

Afraid for his safety and the safety of other corrections officers.

That's just part of the message from a former corrections officer at the Lorrie Yeager Youth Detention Center on the south side.

That's where six juveniles destroyed the common area inside the facility this week.

Former corrections officer Daniel Lockhart worked at the Lorrie Yeager facility for two years before leaving his job last month, mainly over concerns about safety not only for himself and the officers, but other inmates as well.

Lockhart says his biggest issue has been that the officers are not able to defend themselves.

When an inmate does come at them or attack, their only option is to back away into another room or hallway in order to get away and let them take over.

And on the night shifts there are less staff on duty.

At times it could be only two officers watching over 20 inmates, which left Lockhart concerned for his safety.

And he's not surprised that something like this happened.

"I felt like something like this or worse has been coming for a long time actually. The officers don't carry any kind of self defense weapons. There's nobody there. If you call for help, especially on the evening shift, there's nobody to come and help you. You just have no way to defend yourself, your only option is to run away," he says.

Lockhart says he's still in contact with some of the corrections officers at Lorrie Yeager and during his time there he says his hands were tied when it came to speaking out over these safety concerns.

We did try to get in contact with someone from the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services to hear what they have to say about what Lockhart said as far as safety concerns go, but have yet to hear anything.


UPDATE 2/20/2014 4:30 PM

It all started with some kids who were upset about discipline.

We're learning more about the incident Tuesday at the south side youth detention center.

Lt. Michael Baylous with the West Virginia State Police says there were six kids involved in tearing up the commons area at the facility, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage.

He says they were upset about prior discipline.

He wouldn't expand on that.

But Lt. Baylous adds there are a total of 20 kids there - not all of them from Wood County.

He says when it happened corrections officers worked quickly to move the kids not involved to a safer area.

They confined those who were causing problems to the commons area.

One corrections officer tripped over something, spraining her ankle.

Lt. Baylous says that's the only injury that was reported.

"It doesn't appear that they had any intention of hurting anybody but you know, of course we're going to conduct our interviews and we're going to verify that that's the case, but at least our initial findings, it appears that they were just trying to destroy property in an attempt to show their dissatisfaction with disciplinary issues," says Lt. Baylous.

Lt. Baylous adds it's standard procedure to call in the city police department to assist in a situation like this.

State police is investigating the incident.


UPDATE 2/19/2014 5:00 PM

First described to us Tuesday night as a disturbance, is now called a near riot.

It happened Tuesday night at the Lorrie Yeager facility off Camden Avenue.

It's run by the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services and houses kids charged with crime.

Parkersburg Police officers were called to the facility Tuesday night.

Chief Joe Martin says officers arrived to assist the staff at the facility with what he described as a riot situation.

Chief Martin adds there were six juveniles in the facility when they arrived.

Officers were there for about two hours until staff regained control.

We also received photos from inside the facility from last night, which are attached to this story.

A source tells WTAP News one guard was stabbed and another has a broken ankle.

The safety of the corrections officers is an issue according to our source.

Officially the West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services will only say there was damage done.

However the department says there were no life threatening injuries.

The department had an investigator at the facility Wednesday and would only say the investigation is ongoing.

The total dollar amount of the damage isn't known at this time but as you can see by the photos, broken glass and wiring pulled out of the walls and ceiling could push the damage well into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Lt. Michael Baylous confirms the West Virginia State Police is investigating the incident.


Parkersburg police confirm officers responded to a disturbance at a youth detention center on the south side.

What the disturbance involves isn't known at this time. Parkersburg officers are assisting the WV Department of Corrections at the facility.

More details throughout the night.


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