Girl alleges sexual abuse at juvenile hall: 'going to eat me up inside if I don't speak'

Kern County's juvenile hall is seen Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo/Carol Ferguson)

A girl who said she was sexually abused by a guard at James G. Bowles Juvenile Hall took time Thursday to speak about the incidents.

The law offices of Chain | Cohn | Stiles and Thomas C. Seabaugh have filed a lawsuit in this case, alleging the guard watched the girl in the shower and made inappropriate comments.

"It's an everyday struggle that I have to face on my own," she said.

The lawsuit refers to her as "Jane Doe" because of her age and the nature of the allegations.

"I'm happy that I did speak up, and I did tell somebody, because if I didn't, he would be telling other kids this," she said.

"Jane" said George Anderson was a guard and did maintenance work at juvenile hall in January and February 2015, when she said the incidents happened.

"He was supposed to be a supervisor of all of us, and to monitor us, what we're doing," she said, "to teach us that you need a better lifestyle than being in juvenile hall, but it didn't happen like that."

Jane said Anderson would watch her while she was in the shower. She said he would direct her to use a certain stall, which she then discovered had a gap in the curtain.

"When I turned around, I've seen him," she said. "I tried to cover myself as most as I can, like up against the wall."

The girl said Anderson would stand at the staff counter at the end of the shower room, with a clear view of the stall she was in. The girl said she never saw any other male staff at that counter.

Jane said Anderson also made comments that made her uncomfortable.

"He was trying to get really personal with me, into my life, my personal life," she said.

The attorneys filed a suit in the case in late September. They say Anderson would arrange to have the girl assigned to work details, where they would be alone.

"He took her to rooms where they were out of the direct line of sight by other staff," the suit reads. The attorneys say Anderson was trying to "groom her for sex."

Jane said in a situation like that, Anderson told her he'd had a dream where she had kissed him, and the two of them ended up in his room. Then he told her he wanted that dream to come true.

"Once he said the bedroom, I was, 'OK, I know what you're talking about,'" Jane said. "That's when I felt very uncomfortable, and I was like, 'Hey, this needs to stop.'"

Jane said she reported the incidents to a counselor, and the counselor said he would immediately tell someone.

The Kern County Probation Department said Anderson was put on administrative leave in February, 2015. They say their department is also doing an internal investigation into the allegations.

"The Department has a strict no-tolerance policy regarding any sort of inappropriate behavior between employees and youth housed in our facilities." their statement also said.

The attorneys for this case also filed a suit accusing Anderson of abusing another girl at juvenile hall between Sept. 1, 2014 and Jan. 30, 2015. In that case, they allege sexual assault.

Bakersfield Police investigated those allegations and sent the case to the Kern County District Attorney's Office. Two weeks ago, Deputy D.A. Esther Schlaerth told Eyewitness News the case was still under their review.

This girl said there was very little physical contact by Anderson.

"He like brushed his hand over me, and stuff," she said, adding she didn't think that was a big issue. But, the girl insisted she felt the other behavior was wrong.

Jane Doe said she didn't see Anderson interacting inappropriately with other girls, but said he was a "big flirt" with many of them.

When asked, Jane Doe said she had been in juvenile hall before.

She also said she was afraid of reporting the incidents with Anderson because it could have caused her trouble. But, she said now, "It's going to eat me up inside if I don't speak."

She calls Anderson's behavior disgusting, and thinks he deserves severe punishment.

"I think Anderson should be in prison right now for what he's done," the girl said. "I really do honestly think in my mind that he probably would have raped somebody right now, if I didn't say anything."

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