Local News

Sex charges shake Butner juvenile facility

Posted July 21, 2011 6:28 p.m. EDT
Updated July 22, 2011 6:10 p.m. EDT

— State officials are investigating a juvenile detention facility in Butner after allegations that a counselor had sex with boys housed there, authorities said Thursday.

The state Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has reassigned the director of the C.A. Dillon Youth Development Center, placed five employees on leave pending the outcome of the investigation and fired counselor Shannon Richardson West.

The investigation began last month after West, 40, was alleged to have had sexual encounters with juveniles at C.A. Dillon, authorities said. The case was turned over to Butner's Department of Public Safety, and West was charged with two counts of sexual activity by a custodian.

West was being held Thursday in the Granville County jail under a $50,000 bond.

West has worked at the center since September 2001. 

“Our employees have the highest obligation to care for at-risk and troubled young people in extremely difficult times of their lives,” Secretary of Juvenile Justice Linda Hayes said in a statement. “For an employee to betray that obligation and trust in any way is unconscionable. We have zero tolerance for personal misconduct. We are committed to providing the best care and treatment possible for our youth and are taking every measure to insure their protection.”

Hayes said the juveniles at C.A. Dillon are receiving counseling and psychiatric services. 

The investigation is ongoing, Hayes said. She could not comment on how many victims were involved or specifically when the contact started. 

West's husband filed for custody of the couple's two children and child support, and received a restraining order against her this week, according to the Wake County Clerk of Court.