A 22-year-old Bronx man who sued the city, saying that he and other teens were turned into “sex slaves” by staffers at a juvenile detention center run by the Administration for Children’s Services has won a settlement, according to court records.
Franklin Maldonado said in his suit that at the age of 15 he was placed at Horizon Juvenile Center in the Bronx from 2013 to 2014 where supervisor Natalie Medford told him that if he “took care of her needs,” she would protect him from disciplinary action and give him special privileges, the August 2017 lawsuit alleged.
Medford would occasionally release him from “the hole” — a separate unit for punishment — to have sex with him, Maldonado claimed in the suit.
A separate May 2018 suit brought by Miguel Smith against the facility, claimed that Medford raped him 10 times beginning in 2013.
When Smith, 22, put an end to the alleged sex abuse in 2014, false misconduct reports were filed against him, the suit says.
Smith also accused another worker of kissing him, telling him to show her his genitals and then performing a sex act.
A third alleged victim was the subject of a Department of Investigation probe which found that Medford had a “an inappropriate sexual relationship” with the teen.
Other workers saw Medford laying on the young man’s bed without her pants on but failed to report it, the court papers say.
Medford no longer works at the facility.
Maldonado and Smith’s lawyer, Vik Pawar, said he believed the city implemented DOI recommendations to address the issue.
“The settlement is in the best interest for our plaintiffs so they can move forward with their lives,” Pawar said.
“The health and safety of children in the care of ACS is a top priority,” a city Law Department spokesperson said. “This settlement is a fair resolution of the claims against the city and in the best interest of all parties.”