Juvenile Justice
3:06 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Transgender Girl Moved to Male Facility in Middletown

A Connecticut juvenile detention facility.
A Connecticut juvenile detention facility.
Credit State of Connecticut

The attorneys for a transgender teen in the custody of Connecticut's Department of Children and Families want a judge to oversee her care. This comes after DCF moved her to an all-boys facility after she allegedly assaulted a youth and staff member over the weekend.

The teen's public defender, James Connolly, said fights happen often in juvenile facilities.

The girl's attorney on federal matters, Aaron Romano, said he will make the request this week before a juvenile court judge. Her case is back in the news after DCF relocated her over the weekend from a psychiatric center for troubled girls to the state's detention center for juvenile boys.

DCF said in a statement on Sunday, "Because there is no suitable place on the Pueblo unit for Jane Doe that can ensure the safety of youth and staff, we have placed her at Connecticut Juvenile Training School in a single room separated from the boys."

The teen's public defender, James Connolly, said fights happen often in juvenile facilities. He said the weekend incident involved at least four girls, but that his client is the one being singled out. "For the first time," he said, "I’ve seen DCF issue a press release regarding one of these incidents specifically identifying Jane Doe. What was the purpose? The department is trying to show their original effort to move her into York was justified. I think it’s very unfortunate to see a child welfare agency act this way in regards to a child that is committed to them."

DCF wouldn't comment on how many girls were involved in the fight or why it issued a press release.

In April, a judge approved a DCF request to send Jane Doe to York Correctional Institution after the department said she was too violent for any DCF facility. The move attracted national criticism because she's a juvenile who was sent to an adult prison without facing any charges. In late June, DCF finally moved the transgender girl to the Middletown facility for troubled girls but said it was a temporary move pending final approval of placement at a Massachusetts facility.

Connolly said on Monday that he hopes DCF will continue on that path. "We have no information from the department that they have continued to pursue the Massachusetts facility," he said. "If that is true, then I’d like to see her move there as soon as possible."

DCF spokesperson Gary Kleeblatt said the department is still awaiting a decision by Massachusetts officials.