INDIANAPOLIS – Nine former employees of a county juvenile detention center were charged Monday with using their positions of authority to have sex with teenage girls.
The nine workers were accused of having sex with six girls who were 13 to 15 years old at the time.
Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said one girl was raped by one of the defendants. The five others agreed to have sex with one or more of the men, but in Indiana the age of sexual consent is 16.
Brizzi said the defendants sent the victims love letters and even a teddy bear bearing the words "I love you."
"These girls were very vulnerable and were being groomed by the youth managers," he said. "Some of these guards even shared these young girls."
The nine defendants — all of whom were fired or quit — face 52 charges including child molesting, sexual misconduct with a minor, child solicitation and official misconduct.
Brizzi said the superintendent of the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center, Damon Ellison, had known for about six years that at least one girl was molested but did not report it. He said Ellison also did not try to stop other molestations by staff members.
Ellison was charged with neglect of a dependent and obstruction of justice, and was suspended without pay, Brizzi said. Ellison's lawyer did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.