CANTON, Ohio (AP) - Three teenage girls ordered to take a cautionary tour a juvenile detention center are suing the counties that oversee the facility, claiming they were subjected to a strip search during the tour.
According to the lawsuit, guards at the Multi-County Juvenile Attention Center in Canton had the girls remove their clothes, squat, lift their breasts and open their mouths as part of the strip searches.
The lawsuit claims the girls, ages 14, 15 and 16, agreed to take a 15-minute walk-through of the facility on May 18 and perform 20 hours of community service to avoid going to court on trespassing charges filed after a fight.
Lawyers for the girls claim the teens were bystanders.
After the searches, the girls were given dirty inmates' uniforms to wear, according to the lawsuit.
The suit, filed Tuesday in Stark County Common Pleas Court, names the six counties that oversee the facility as defendants and seeks at least $25,000 in damages.
An investigator is looking into the allegations, but no conclusions have been made, Stark County Sheriff Timothy Swanson said. Court Administrator Richard DeHeer and facility superintendent Donald Thernes declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The Multi-County Juvenile Attention Center is used by Stark, Carroll, Columbiana, Holmes, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties as a short-term holding facility for juveniles awaiting trial or other placements.
If the parents had known their children would be strip searched, they never would have consented to the walk-through, attorneys Brian Zimmerman and Allen Schulman Jr. said.