Former juvenile corrections nurse charged in sex abuse case



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NAMPA, Idaho (AP) — A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a former Idaho juvenile corrections nurse, after she was charged with sexual battery of a minor and sexual contact with a juvenile offender.

Valerie Kristen Lieteau was a nurse at the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections facility in Nampa, which has been the subject of numerous allegations that staffers sexually abused the residents, the Idaho Press-Tribune reported (http://is.gd/21y0qu ).

Lieteau has been charged with sexual battery of a minor and sexual contact with a juvenile offender, according to court files unsealed Friday.

So far, at least 10 former detainees at the facility have brought sex abuse allegations against the state since last year, identifying at least half a dozen suspected abusers. The plaintiffs said they were abused multiple times by staffers, that in some cases they were supplied with illicit drugs, and that the center's director and other staffers knew of the abuse but failed to intervene.

Valerie Kristen Lieteau was previously named in tort claims filed by former inmates.

A $500,000 warrant has been issued for Lieteau's arrest. Bruce Skaug, an attorney representing several of the former inmates in the civil cases, said he believes she's living in California.

The Associated Press could not immediately locate contact information for Lieteau, and it was not clear if she had retained a lawyer to represent her in the criminal case.

Sharon Harrigfeld, the director of the Department of Juvenile Corrections, declined to answer questions about the abuse allegations when she testified before lawmakers in February. But she said the department is doing its best to care for young people in its facilities.

"We're doing everything in our power to make sure the juveniles in our care are safe and secure," she said.

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, http://www.idahopress.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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