Franklin Maldonado was just 15 years old when he was sent to the Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx, New York. He was held for a period between 2013 and 2014, but instead of a reformed attitude, he walked away with scarring memories of sexual abuse.
According to a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, the now-18-year-old was used as a “sex slave,” per the New York Post.
His supervisor at the time, Natalie Medford, who was in her 40s, allegedly told the boy that if he “took care of her needs” she would protect him from any punishment, in addition to rewarding him with privileges like being able to use her phone and access to “special” movies.
Per the Daily Mail, Maldonado’s suit claims he was forced to have sex with Medford three or four times, taking place in his cell or her office.Screenshot/Google Maps
Aside from sex, he claimed they partook in “numerous other affectionate conduct such as kissing, holding hands and caressing his back.”
He detailed how many other officials in the detention center, as well as fellow inmates, were well aware of the sexual abuse. She would allegedly come to his cell and instruct nearby inmates to leave so that Maldonado would not only be alone but also “physically unable” to stop her.
The suit also claimed that Medford sometimes had Maldonado released from “the hole” — a solitary confinement space used for disciplinary measures — “and bring him to her office for the purposes of engaging in sexual contact with him.”
The Daily Mail reported the lawsuit detailed several times when Medford threatened the boy:
“On several occasions, Medford performed oral sex on the plaintiff and threatened him by saying, ‘If you say something, I will get you in a lot of trouble. But if you don’t say anything, I’ll take care of you.'”
Despite the alleged horrifying behavior on Medford’s part, other detention center officials referred to the abuse as “business as usual.”
In fact, per the Daily Mail, he claimed he was encouraged by male supervisors:
“After the sexual encounters were completed, [Maldonado] was permitted to leave [Medford’s] office and he would routinely encounter the other defendants, who would tell him ‘good job’ and that [Maldonado] was a ‘special kid’ and ‘be honest, you like her? And you like doing it, don’t you?'”
But Maldonado has insisted Medford wasn’t the only one. He stated he knew of at least one other inmate under the age of 18 who was being “groomed” by a female guard.Screenshot/Google Maps
Now, the New York Post has reported that an operator at the Horizon Juvenile Center told it that they could not “locate” an employee with the name Medford.
However, an investigation into the juvenile center has reportedly been launched by both the city’s Department of Investigation and the Bronx District Attorney’s Office. A spokesperson for the city’s Law Department told the Post:
“We will review the complaint.”
Maldonado’s suit is seeking $6 million in compensatory damages, either from each of the 10 defendants or from them all collectively.