4 more ex-youth center workers charged in New Hampshire

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — New Hampshire state police arrested another four men Wednesday in connection with a broad criminal investigation into physical and sexual abuse at a state-run youth detention center, bringing the total to 11.

Jonathan Brand, Victor Malavet, Trevor Middleton and Stanley Watson together have been charged with 14 counts of sexual assault involving five victims between 1997 and 2007, the attorney general’s office said.

Seven other former workers at the Youth Development Center in Manchester were arrested earlier this month and charged with either sexually assaulting or acting as accomplices to the assault of 12 teenagers from 1994 to 2005.

The center, now called the Sununu Youth Services Center, has been the target of a criminal investigation since 2019, as well as a lawsuit in which more than 200 men and women allege they were physically or sexually abused as children by 150 staffers from 1963 to 2018. According to their attorney, Rus Rilee, children were gang raped by counselors, beaten while raped, forced to compete for food in “fight clubs” set up by counselors and locked in solitary confinement for weeks or months.

“My clients are pleased with today’s arrests,” Rilee said Wednesday. “They are heartened that the state has finally listened to them, believed them and acted on their behalves. With over 285 survivors, we are hopeful that there will be many more arrests and many more charges in the coming weeks and months.”

Malavet, 58, of Gilford, faces seven counts of rape; Watson, 52, of Allenstown, faces three counts of rape; Middleton, 52, of Belmont, faces one count of rape and one count of sexual assault; and Brand, 56, of Concord, faces two counts of sexual assault. They are due in court Thursday, and it is unknown whether they are represented by attorneys.

Gov. Chris Sununu said the latest arrests make clear his administration’s commitment to holding perpetrators accountable. The facility is named for his father, former Gov. John H. Sununu.

“This is not over and we will continue to investigate these horrific allegations,” he said.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that the total charges brought Wednesday is 14, not 15.

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