2 YDC Ex-Counselors Indicted for Sex Assault of Minor 2 Decades Ago; New Investigation Launched

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Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester was formerly called Youth Development Center, YDC

By NANCY WEST, InDepthNH.org

UPDATED

CONCORD – Two former youth counselors at the Youth Development Center in Manchester have been indicted on dozens of charges related to the sexual assault of a juvenile in state custody more than 20 years ago.

Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced the indictments Thursday in a news release and made it clear the state wants to hear from any other alleged victims. YDC is now called the Sununu Youth Services Center.

“(T)he Hillsborough County Grand Jury returned 56 indictments against Jeffrey Buskey, age 52, of Dorchester, Mass., charging him with Aggravated Felonious Sexual Assault, between Oct. 26, 1997 and Sept. 30, 1998,” the press release said.

Here are the indictments against Buskey.

“In addition, 26 indictments were returned charging Steven Murphy, age 50, of Danvers, Mass., with Aggravated Felonious Sexual Assault, between Oct. 26, 1997 and Sept. 30, 1998.  These crimes are alleged to have occurred while Mr. Buskey and Mr. Murphy were employed as youth counselors at the Youth Development Center (YDC) in Manchester, New Hampshire.”

Here are the indictments against Murphy.

All of the charges against Mr. Buskey and Mr. Murphy involve a victim who was a minor in the custody of the YDC at the time of the offenses, the release said.

These indictments were presented to the grand jury by the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office.  “Based on the scope and complexity of this matter and because it involves alleged criminal conduct at a state agency by state employees, the Attorney General’s Office has today assumed the prosecution of these cases.

“This Office is also launching a comprehensive, multi-faceted investigation of the YDC and the personnel employed at that agency.  The investigation will initially focus on a timeframe between 1990 and 2000.”

The press release asks anyone who was physically or sexually assaulted or abused at the YDC to contact their local crisis center and lists the hotline numbers for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

Later in the release, it says: In addition, any person with information regarding criminal conduct at the YDC is urged to contact Investigator James Kinney at the Attorney General’s Office at (603) 271-1258 or email: james.kinney@doj.nh.gov.

InDepthNH.org emailed the following questions to MacDonald and spokesman Kate Spiner and will update the story when they respond.

1. Why did AG MacDonald ask potential YDC victims to contact the nonprofit NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence instead of their local police or the AG investigators?

2. Are Coalition hotline volunteers or staff trained in crime reporting? 

3. What is the formal or informal relationship between the Coalition and the Attorney General’s Office?

July 25 Response from AG MacDonald’s spokesman Kate Spiner to above questions:

Spiner, Kate4:55 PM (19 minutes ago)
to Gordon, me

Hi Nancy,

The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence coordinates 13 statewide crisis centers which provide direct support services to victims of crime, including physical or sexual abuse. Due to the nature of this investigation, we thought it prudent to reference the services that are available to victims or anyone who has been impacted by sexual violence.

As stated in our press release: In addition, any person with information regarding criminal conduct at the YDC is urged to contact Investigator James Kinney at the Attorney General’s Office at (603) 271-1258 or email: james.kinney@doj.nh.gov.

Thank you,

Kate

See below for full press releases from Attorney General Gordon MacDonald, Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers and Gov. Chris Sununu.

From AG Gordon J. MacDonald

Concord, NH — New Hampshire Attorney General Gordon J. MacDonald announces today that the Hillsborough County Grand Jury returned 56 indictments against Jeffrey Buskey, age 52, of Dorchester, Massachusetts, charging him with Aggravated Felonious Sexual Assault, between October 26, 1997 and September 30, 1998.  In addition, 26 indictments were returned charging Steven Murphy, age 50, of Danvers, Massachusetts, with Aggravated Felonious Sexual Assault, between October 26, 1997 and September 30, 1998.  These crimes are alleged to have occurred while Mr. Buskey and Mr. Murphy were employed as youth counselors at the Youth Development Center (YDC) in Manchester, New Hampshire.  All of the charges against Mr. Buskey and Mr. Murphy involve a victim who was a minor in the custody of the YDC at the time of the offenses.

These indictments were presented to the grand jury by the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office.  Based on the scope and complexity of this matter and because it involves alleged criminal conduct at a state agency by state employees, the Attorney General’s Office has today assumed the prosecution of these cases.  This Office is also launching a comprehensive, multi-faceted investigation of the YDC and the personnel employed at that agency.  The investigation will initially focus on a timeframe between 1990 and 2000. 

The investigation by this Office will address whether additional juveniles were subjected to physical or sexual violence at the YDC in this timeframe as well as whether there was conduct which constituted endangering the welfare of a child, contrary to RSA 639:3 and violations of RSA ch. 642, the Obstructing Governmental Operations chapter of the criminal code. This Office will also investigate any other crimes as dictated by the evidence.

Anyone who was physically or sexually assaulted or abused at the YDC is encouraged to contact their local crisis center.  Crisis center advocates are available across New Hampshire to provide free and confidential support to anyone impacted by sexual violence. Crisis center services are also available to anyone who has experienced or witnessed abuse, or who is looking to find ways to support someone who has. Crisis centers can provide individual support, support groups, assistance reporting abuse, help understanding options and the legal system, court and hospital accompaniment, housing assistance, and referrals for local services including mental health and substance abuse services.  To speak with an advocate, please call the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-866-644-3574 or the statewide sexual assault hotline at 1-800-277-5570 or find the crisis center nearest you at  https://www.nhcadsv.org/member-programs.html.

In addition, any person with information regarding criminal conduct at the YDC is urged to contact Investigator James Kinney at the Attorney General’s Office at (603) 271-1258 or email: james.kinney@doj.nh.gov.

The indictments returned are merely allegations and Mr. Buskey and Mr. Murphy are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty.

Statement from Jeffrey A. Meyers, Commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, regarding the Hillsborough County Attorney’s prosecution of sexual assault charges at the Youth Development Center in the 1990’s:

Concord, NH – “The criminal charges filed today by the Hillsborough County Attorney against former staff at the Youth Development Center are shocking to the leadership and staff of the Sununu Youth Services Center and the Department.

The conduct alleged in the indictments is unconscionable, and the victims of this conduct deserve justice. The Department has cooperated and will continue to cooperate with the investigation and prosecution of these charges.

The Department has worked very hard to assure the safety of youth at SYSC, including meeting the federal guidelines under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). SYSC complies with PREA guidelines. The policies and systems that are in place at the current SYSC facility are designed to protect youth who are under our care. All of the leadership and staff at SYSC and the Department are committed to the safety of our youth and to our continuing efforts to prevent the conduct that occurred some 25 years ago.”

Statement from Gov. Chris Sununu:

“The incidents that are alleged to have occurred over 20 years ago are sickening and the State of New Hampshire stands ready to assist and cooperate in any investigation that will bring these detestable perpetrators to justice. I am confident that the Attorney General’s Office will aggressively pursue this case – zero tolerance means zero tolerance.”

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