Judge Allows Idaho Whistleblower Lawsuit to Go Forward
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A federal judge says a whistleblower lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections can move forward in court, but some of the claims must be dismissed. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled Thursday that 10 current and former Juvenile Corrections employees raised enough questions of fact in their lawsuit to merit bringing it before a jury. The group filed the lawsuit last year alleging that some staffers at a Nampa juvenile detention facility sexually abused incarcerated youths, and that agency leaders knew about the abuse but didn't effectively act to stop it. The group also contends that the department is rife with cronyism, wastes taxpayer money and that managers failed to take action when one youth was caught inappropriately touching another. They also say in the lawsuit that after they complained, they were forced to work undesirable shifts, given "performance improvement plans" and experienced other adverse job actions. The state has denied those claims, and an attorney representing the department told the judge during a hearing Wednesday that the case should be thrown out.