Former Detention Center Inmate Reveals Transition From Mentor to Monster

Former Detention Center Inmate Reveals Transition From Mentor to Monster

BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP)- The man who exposed decades of abuse accusations at New Hampshire’s child detention center continued to testify in his civil lawsuit Thursday, detailing being treated for gonorrhea after being raped at age 15. But the true watershed moment, he said, was the first of many assaults by a guy he had grown to adore as a father figure.

In the seven years since David Meehan went to police, the state has established a $100 million fund for former residents of Manchester’s Sununu Youth Services Center and filed criminal charges against 11 former state employees, four of whom are suspected of assaulting him.

However, facing over 1,100 lawsuits from former residents, the state claims it should not be held accountable for the activities of “rogue” personnel.

That odd dynamic began to play out when Meehan’s claim, the first to be filed, went to trial last week. On the testimony stand for the second day Thursday, Meehan admitted to lying on the intake form about having sexual experience before coming to the program in 1995 at the age of 14.

“Do you ever really just need to feel tough in any way that you can?” he questioned the audience. “It was just another form of protection for my survival.”

In actuality, his first sexual encounter occurred when a juvenile center employee forcibly assaulted him while conducting a strip search, he claimed. He was later quarantined in the hospital for gonorrhea, he claims.

“You lost your virginity to Frank Davis?” attorney Rus Rilee inquired, alluding to a former staffer who has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault allegations. “I’m not going to accept that in my life anymore, so no,” she replied. “I was raped as a little boy by somebody who should not have been in a position to have been allowed to do that.”

Over the next few months, Meehan claims his assigned youth counselor, Jeffrey Buskey, began grooming him, providing him soda and snacks, and arranging for him to play basketball with a local high school team.

“By that point, I had a father figure. I have a man in my life with whom I felt a connection,” Meehan said, wiping away emotions as his lawyer questioned if Buskey, who has also pleaded not guilty, treated him like a son.

“How I imagined I could be treated, yeah,” that’s what he said. “Better than my dad.”

However, things changed in the fall of 1997, when Buskey forced him to phone his fiancée and break up with her, followed by forcing him to do a sexual act, Meehan stated. “I am angry sitting here trying to talk about it and trying to control these emotions,” he was quoted as saying. “But that’s when it starts, okay? “That’s when it starts.”

Other employees began abusing him within days, according to Meehan, who claims to have been raped hundreds of times over three years in his lawsuit. He claimed Buskey told him he was “his,” but if others wanted something, he should comply.

“It went from being somebody I trusted, that I thought was not just there to help me, but somebody I thought cared for me, to hurt,” he went on to say.

The youth center, which previously housed up to 100 youngsters but today serves fewer than a dozen, is named after former Governor John H. Sununu, the father of current Governor Chris Sununu. In recent years, politicians have agreed to close the facility and replace it with a much smaller complex in a new location.

The trial concluded early for the day after Meehan sobbed while recounting an instance in which he said Buskey forced a girl to perform a sex act to “teach” him what to do. “This is only the beginning, and I’m doing everything I can right now to keep myself together because I know where this is headed. “I don’t want to keep having to say it out loud,” Meehan said, adding that he often feels unsafe.

“I’m forced to try to hold myself together somehow and show as a man everything these people did to this little boy,” stated the young man. “I’m constantly paying for what they did.”

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