Authorities yesterday ordered a youth detention center in Nantou County shut down after questioning four suspects over allegations of repeated sexual assault on underage boys, as well as a number of infractions at the center.
The Nantou County Prosecutors’ Office said that a preliminary investigation indicated that a 21-year-old worker surnamed Chen (陳) and three other juveniles at the center sexually assaulted four boys from 2014 to 2015.
“Investigators are also checking with the center’s staff and detainees to verify if these acts continued over the past year, so we cannot rule out there being more victims,” Nantou County deputy chief prosecutor Wang Ming-yu (王銘裕) said.
Wang said the privately run center took in people between 12 and 18 years old who had been charged with misdemeanors and other minor crimes after judges ordered their placement in such centers for rehabilitation and education.
Most detainees received terms of one to two years, which can be extended by authorities to a maximum of four years.
The investigation revealed that Chen was a detainee at the center and returned to work there as a volunteer, where he allegedly sexually assaulted the victims.
Chen and the other three suspects were accused of forcing victims to have anal and oral sex.
Prosecutors have uncovered at least 10 instances of such offenses between 2014 and 2015.
Prosecutors said they would bring charges of Offenses Against Sexual Autonomy against Chen, who was released on bail of NT$50,000 on Friday, while the other three suspects were transferred to the Nantou County District Juvenile Court, as they are minors.
The center was also found to be holding 29 detainees, and had as many as 106 last year, despite its operating license limit of 19.