Man accused of false reports in youth center abuse case
CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A man who said he was sexually abused as a teenager by workers at the state-run youth detention center that’s under a criminal investigation has been accused of giving police false information.
Ten former workers at the Youth Development Center in Manchester and one from a pre-trial facility in Concord were charged in April with either sexually assaulting or acting as accomplices to the assault of more than a dozen teenagers from 1994 to 2007. The center, now called the Sununu Youth Services Center, has been the target of a criminal investigation since 2019, and more than 300 men and woman have come forward with allegations involving 150 staffers from 1960 to 2018.
Last month, a judge dismissed a class-action lawsuit involving several hundred people who allege decades of abuse at the detention center, but he left the door open for individual claims against the state. It was filed in January 2020.
David Sweeney, 45, currently jailed on an unrelated federal charge, told police in July 2020 that he was sexually abused several times by two staffers at the youth development center as a teenager in the 1990s, according to a police affidavit.
Records show that Sweeney was at the Concord facility briefly in 1993, but not at the Manchester center, the affidavit said. They also show that one of the workers Sweeney named was not employed at the center at that time.
When interviewed again about his account on June 10, Sweeney said, “Well, if you’re saying I wasn’t there, you know, you guys got the records, so what, I mean, if you want to charge me with something, charge me with something,” according to the affidavit.
Sweeney was charged with four misdemeanor counts of providing a false report to law enforcement. A public defender entered not guilty pleas for him on Friday.
According to the affidavit, Sweeney told police that he was part of the lawsuit, but the attorney representing the plaintiffs said that’s not true.
“I do not represent Mr. Sweeney,” Rus Rilee said in a statement Friday. “I do, however, represent over 330 brave survivors of systemic governmental child abuse and torture who have yet to see charges brought against their perpetrators.”