HEAT ALERT

Heat blankets the region; heat advisory, air quality alert issued for the Hudson Valley

Turn to Tara: Carlucci calls for hearings on inner-workings of state's Justice Center

A local lawmaker is looking into what could have been done to prevent young, troubled girls at a Westchester residential treatment center from being pulled into a sex trafficking ring.

News 12 Staff

Jan 10, 2019, 10:41 PM

Updated 1,987 days ago

Share:

A local lawmaker is looking into what could have been done to prevent young, troubled girls at a Westchester residential treatment center from being pulled into a sex trafficking ring.      
Hawthorne Cedar Knolls is now shuttered but the fallout is still far from over. Federal officials said back in December that the lower Westchester residential treatment center was a popular recruiting ground for sex traffickers.

As the new chairman of the Mental Health Committee of the New York State Senate, Sen. David Carlucci says he plans to take action and call for hearings on the inner-workings of the state's Justice Center.

When it was established in 2013, the initiative was "the first of its kind in the nation" - an agency to ensure that people with special needs in New York are protected from abuse, neglect and mistreatment. Its inspector general and prosecutors were even assigned special powers to investigate alongside local district attorneys.

"We have to make sure the Justice Center, with its intent to make sure this type of abuse doesn't happen, we have to make sure it’s working,” says Carlucci.

Carlucci says the concern came up after federal prosecutors shared the horrid details last month of an underage sex trafficking ring.  The suspects were charged with luring nine girls as young as 13 from the Hawthorne Cederal Knolls campus to a life in the sex trade in New York City.
A top FBI agent also highlighted the problem in the recent special series, Slavery In Suburbia. News 12 submitted more than 200 public document requests and created a map that pinpoints the surprising locations where trafficking is most common across the Hudson Valley.
A young survivor also told News 12 that she too turned to a local residential treatment center for help, but months later wound up back in the sex trade.

When asked to react to Carlucci's calls for hearings, a spokesperson for the Justice Center told News 12 that they operate at the highest standards, coordinate regularly with elected officials and take allegations of abuse very seriously.
 


More from News 12
2:00
HEAT ALERT: Heat advisory and air quality alert in effect through Thursday; cooler temperatures return for the weekend

HEAT ALERT: Heat advisory and air quality alert in effect through Thursday; cooler temperatures return for the weekend

0:27
State police: Person dead, another seriously injured in Woodbury crash

State police: Person dead, another seriously injured in Woodbury crash

0:29
Police search for suspect in stabbing incident of City of Newburgh resident

Police search for suspect in stabbing incident of City of Newburgh resident

2:07
Peekskill community mourns loss of caseworker who died after being assaulted on the job

Peekskill community mourns loss of caseworker who died after being assaulted on the job

2:46
‘People have worked so hard.’ Woman who helped make Juneteenth a national holiday visits New Jersey

‘People have worked so hard.’ Woman who helped make Juneteenth a national holiday visits New Jersey

1:40
Yonkers fire crews responded to a house fire during extreme heat on Wednesday

Yonkers fire crews responded to a house fire during extreme heat on Wednesday

1:40
Beating the heat: How residents are keeping cool

Beating the heat: How residents are keeping cool

1:45
Middletown woman’s family alleges mother of 7 died from withdrawal mismanagement at Orange County Jail

Middletown woman’s family alleges mother of 7 died from withdrawal mismanagement at Orange County Jail

1:33
Stony Point takes steps to help kids cool off with early opening of Splash Pad

Stony Point takes steps to help kids cool off with early opening of Splash Pad

1:50
Middletown celebrates end of slavery in midst of stretch of intense heat

Middletown celebrates end of slavery in midst of stretch of intense heat

0:42
Police report shows private school bus driver found at fault in Spring Valley accident that killed a 6-year-old girl

Police report shows private school bus driver found at fault in Spring Valley accident that killed a 6-year-old girl

2:35
Westchester County opens pools and beaches early as intense heat grips region

Westchester County opens pools and beaches early as intense heat grips region

1:42
Mount Vernon celebrates Juneteenth

Mount Vernon celebrates Juneteenth

0:28
Poughkeepsie Common Council unanimously opts into rent stabilization

Poughkeepsie Common Council unanimously opts into rent stabilization

1:07
DOT seeks input on I-84 freight parking locations

DOT seeks input on I-84 freight parking locations

0:55
Headlines: Woman stabbed in Newburgh, Peekskill homicide, driver injured as power lines fall on car

Headlines: Woman stabbed in Newburgh, Peekskill homicide, driver injured as power lines fall on car

0:31
Dollar Tree left lead-tainted applesauce pouches on store shelves for weeks after recall, FDA says

Dollar Tree left lead-tainted applesauce pouches on store shelves for weeks after recall, FDA says

0:20
Kingston road closure for new lane markings

Kingston road closure for new lane markings

0:28
Voters in 3 districts approve school budgets after earlier rejections

Voters in 3 districts approve school budgets after earlier rejections

0:46
Bedford police officers honored for saving family from house fire

Bedford police officers honored for saving family from house fire