Investigation: Teens sexually abused by female staffer at Maple Lake drug recovery center

Three teens were abused and 10 suffered neglect, the state has found.
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Three teenagers at a drug treatment center in central Minnesota were sexually abused by a female staffer, a state investigation has found.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services has released the findings of its probe into allegations of abuse against three teenagers and the neglect of 10 at the Maple Lake Recovery Center in Wright County.

The 10 alleged victims, aged 13-18, all lived together at the facility, where they would undergo treatment for their addiction and substance abuse disorders.

The investigation found that three of the teens, two of whom were aged 17 and the other aged 14, had been subjected to sexual abuse by the staff member on a single day in March, with one of the teens having their nipples pinched, while another had the staffer sit on their lap.

She encouraged two of the teens to pinch her nipples, though it's not clear if they did, and she also placed the 14-year-old's hand on her butt.

Other reports from the 10 teens living at the facility stated that she would hug and kiss some of them, encourage them to talk about their past sexual experiences, and also used her phone to take photos of one of the teens.

When someone raised concerns about the staffer's "boundaries" to management at the facility, they informed her immediately that she would be placed on unpaid leave until an internal investigation was completed.

She then resigned on the spot, but appeared a short while later outside one of the facility's windows, as tried to pass a letter to the teens.

“hey so told me about the other other night, so I quit, they’re going to be asking alot [sic] of qustions [sic] so be careful if you want you can write me but don’t have too," the letter read.

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This letter prompted the interviewing of the 10 teens, which in turn led to the allegations of sexual abuse.

The Star Tribune notes that it's the second time in the past 3 years claims of sexual abuse have originated from the Maple Lake facility, noting that a staff member had performed oral sex on two 17-year-olds back in 2016.

It's not clear whether details of the staff member's conduct will be passed on to law enforcement, but she has been disqualified from working for state positions that require background checks.

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