Grand Jury Finds No Wrongdoing at Wittenberg

Grand Jury Report
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A Washoe County grand jury has determined that there are problems at the county's juvenile hall, but nothing criminal.

And despite two lawsuits claiming a sexual assault and beatings at Wittenberg Hall, the panel determined that no further investigation is needed.

Its report said the center's overnight staff is overwhelmed at times and should be increased. It also suggested random dorm visits so juveniles couldn't anticipate when supervisors will drop in. The checks currently are made about every 15 minutes.

The report also concluded that the staff is compassionate and competent, and security was very good despite issues with the dorms and monitoring equipment.

Reno attorney Carter King, who filed both of the lawsuits, said the jury did as thorough a job as it could given its other responsibilities.

The grand jury reviewed transcripts from hearings, interviewed the top three officials at Wittenberg and toured the building.

King said the facility's shortcomings would come out when a federal court jury hears his civil case involving the sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy he said occurred Feb. 15.

"The grand jury didn't say what happened and how the system failed John Doe," he said. Two boys ultimately were convicted in the attacks.

But another boy allegedly was beaten last year over a period of 10 days by two gang members and sexually humiliated. Kings lawsuit on behalf of that boy is filed in Washoe District Court.

County officials have disputed that incident occurred.