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Rep. Monroe Nichols reacts to federal civil suit against Tulsa County, calls for Oklahoma Attorney General to investigate

TULSA, Oklahoma – State Representative Monroe Nichols, candidate for Tulsa Mayor, called for complete accountability after cases of widespread sexual assault, abuse and trafficking are alleged to have been committed against more than a dozen children in custody at the Tulsa County Family Center for Juvenile Justice.  


“The details in the civil lawsuit are reprehensible,” said Rep. Nichols. “The most vulnerable youth in our community were targeted and victimized while leaders at multiple levels, including right here in Tulsa County, were complicit through their failure to act and protect children.”  


According to a civil lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma naming Tulsa County, including the Tulsa County Board of Commissioners, the State of Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs and various officials within its ranks, Tulsa County employees helped ‘perpetuate’ a culture that allowed abuse to continue even after being notified of issues at the juvenile center over the previous two years.


“This was not an isolated incident. There are nine known victims and as many as 21 based on this lawsuit.” Nichols said. “In response to detention officers sexually assaulting juvenile detainees in ways far too graphic to describe, every Tulsa County elected official in the chain of command has said nothing or hidden behind administrative policies. As a parent and an elected official who began my career working on juvenile justice issues in Mayor Taylor’s office, I am horrified at the thought of an official explaining they could not protect children due to administrative policies.  One of the Tulsa County elected officials named in the lawsuit is a candidate campaigning to be Tulsa’s next Mayor, Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith.


Voters deserve transparency in knowing where their elected officials stand on doing all they can to protect children. For years, Commissioner Keith has touted the Family Center for Juvenile Justice as the crowning achievement of her years in office. In her own words, Commissioner Keith said children need a ‘comforting, safe place that will create even more positive outcomes.’ But in the few years since the center opened its doors, it’s been anything but comforting for Tulsa County’s most at-risk youth.



“I am calling for accountability, which starts with those at the top. Given the history of failure to protect youth and the potential cover-up that has followed, I have no confidence in the ability of Tulsa County officials to handle this matter internally. I join advocacy groups in calling for operations at the Family Center for Juvenile Justice to cease and to move young people to a safer environment. I also ask for the Oklahoma Attorney General to step in and fully investigate the matter. The level of incompetence and indifference at the highest levels of county government cannot continue.”


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About State Rep. Monroe Nichols:

Monroe Nichols has been a leading voice on education, healthcare, criminal justice reform, and economic growth. A four-term legislator, Nichols is an established leader in the Oklahoma House of Representatives and serves as the current chair of the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus. Nichols brings a wealth of experience from government, business, higher-education, and non-profit sectors. Nichols has been recognized with numerous awards for his public service. As mayor, Monroe will work tirelessly to end homelessness, invest in education, expand our economy, and ensure Tulsa is the safest big city in America.


Contact:

Dana Walton, Campaign Manager

(307) 258-1825

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