DJJ documents returned, investigation launched

By Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC) - COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Department of Juvenile Justice now has hundreds of private documents back in their possession after a Lexington woman said they fell off the back of a truck in her neighborhood.

Mink says she was taking her kids to the movies Friday when a trash bag fell out of a pickup truck in front of her. The truck driver kept going.

"I saw just names and numbers and realized this was personal information so I didn't feel comfortable just leaving it on the side of the road," Mink said.

Mink went to the dump to throw the documents away, but then she took a closer look at what was inside.

"As I started looking, I saw the Department of Juvenile Justice paperwork and DJJ and all these names," said Mink.

The papers contain very private information of children who committed crimes and were placed in the Department of Juvenile Justice system.

One parole summary describes an instance where a 12-year-old child tried to have sex with another child. It goes on to say, "[He] told authorities when asked why he did this that he was repeating what had been done to him."

Others included a letter from a 10-year-old reportedly raped by her teenage cousin. She wrote it to the parole board asking them to forgive her cousin and let him go so the family could be together again.

We also found psycho-social evaluations so confidential, it was recommended not even the juvenile's family ever lay eyes on them.

The papers listed cases from Charleston to Spartanburg to Columbia. One describes a case where a juvenile sexually assaulted an elderly woman and another describing how a teen killed a man.

DJJ says the goal of the investigation is to find out who is responsible for leaving young lives exposed.

The department released a statement Monday afternoon stating the director of DJJ, the director of the Board of Juvenile Parole and the DJJ's inspector general would be looking into the incident.

It's possible some of the documents belong to the South Carolina Board of Juvenile Parole.

Jillian Capobiano filed the original report.

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