The Citrus Center of Adolescent Treatment Service, based out of Pembroke Pines, Florida, was accused by the Broward Chief Assistant Public Defender of malpractice Thursday, news sources report. The accusations stem from the testimony of one victim, a 14-year-old girl who was arrested at the center in April after a fight. Information regarding that victim’s identity was not immediately available due to her status as a minor; she was charged with resisting arrest with violence, disorderly conduct, and criminal mischief. Officials are currently conducting an investigation to determine whether the allegations about the center are factual.
According to reports, the alleged abuse occurred at the Citrus Center of Adolescent Treatment Service on South Palm Drive in Pembroke Pines. The facility houses girls aged 14 to 17. The girls housed at the center are prior victims of emotional, psychological, or behavioral abuse, or are wards of the state, according to reports. So far, no officials from the center have commented on the allegations.
“This mental health facility is simply tying down and knocking out [with medication] little girls who behave in accordance with their mental illness,” a Broward Chief Assistant Public Defender allegedly said about the investigation. The BCAPD first became aware of the situation at the center after police arrested the 14-year-old there. The girl had been orphaned a few years previously; she was arrested on April 28 after she was allegedly involved in a fight with several other girls. Police went to the facility and attempted to break up the fight, part of which was caught on tape.
In the video, the girl can allegedly be seen assaulting one of the officers. “[An officer] puts his hand on the arm of the defendant as she’s being escorted,” a Pembroke Pines police spokesperson said. “At which time [the girl] punches the officer twice, he tries to defend himself and does strike the defendant… the video doesn’t capture the entire scenario. Several individuals were fighting and beating up the staff. The video captures the arrest of one person.”
According to reports, the girl later said sorry to the officer, claiming she had resisted because she wanted to be arrested so she could leave the Citrus Center. “The officer’s actions were consistent with what he wrote in the police report, and the officer himself put the video into evidence,” a police spokesperson said. “After reviewing the video and the officer’s report, we don’t see any inconsistencies with our policies.”
Following her arrest, the BCAPD said the girl had been physically or chemically restrained six to ten times over the past few months – seemingly too much, the BCAPD reportedly said. “This child needs to be in a family-type setting to bond and be nurtured by a family while she goes through the grieving process,” a BCAPD spokesperson supposedly said, reportedly adding that he brought these complaints to light with state authorities, “who will hopefully prohibit this type of action in the future.”
In his complaint, the BCAPD reportedly alleges that “it is believed several girls intentionally engage in misbehavior” in order to receive drugs. The girls refer to the drugs as “booty-juice” because the shots are administered on their buttocks, sources indicate.