A former teenage resident claims a staff member at the troubled detention center threw him to the ground and violently attacked him after a raucous group therapy session in July 2007.Though the boy turned out to be significantly injured, he sat in solitary confinement, undiagnosed, for a week before somebody helped him:
The incident left 15-year-old Robert Romero Jr. with a dislocated hip, fractured pelvis and a ruptured artery in his thigh, according to a federal lawsuit filed this week against Evins and the Texas Youth Commission, which oversees the detention center.
“It takes quite a lot of make a grown man cry,” his father, Robert Romero Sr., said. “But after I saw my son, I broke down in tears.”
On July 17, the teen says a counselor accused him of disrupting a mandatory meeting where several inmates were present.This account seems to corroborate some of the recent allegations by the Ombudsman and others that TYC overuses solitary confinement and doesn't always attend to youths mental and physical health needs when they're locked up in isolation.
Romero, who claims he obeyed the staff member’s orders to settle down, was ordered out of the room.
The Evins employee then allegedly followed him out into a hallway, slammed him onto the ground and bent his legs into his back.
Romero “felt excruciating pain run through his leg accompanied by a loud popping noise,” the lawsuit states.
The incident left the teenager hospitalized and in need of continued medical care, said his mother, Graciela Garza Romero, who lives in Rockport outside of Corpus Christi. For several days afterward, Romero Jr. sat in separated security room with undiagnosed internal injuries.
“At the time, they kept telling me he was OK,” she said. “He wasn’t OK. He was sitting alone for a week with a fractured pelvis.”