Three staffers hospitalized, property damaged at juvenile detention center in Frederick County

Three staff members at a juvenile detention center in Frederick County were hospitalized Sunday after being assaulted by a group of teens who also destroyed property — and then barricaded themselves from the responding troopers and sheriff's deputies, officials said. Several others were injured but refused treatment.

None of the center's 29 minors escaped from the Victor Cullen Center in Sabillasville during the 11:30 a.m. melee in one of the center's three living units, said Jay Cleary, chief of staff of the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services, which oversees the center.


A Frederick County sheriff's deputy trained as a negotiator spoke with the eight barricaded minors over radio, and seven of them surrendered to authorities, with deputies and State Police surrounding the building at 6000 Cullen Drive, State Police said.

They entered the building and arrested the eighth minor "without incident," State Police spokesman Greg Shipley wrote in a news release.


"There was no physical confrontation between police and juveniles," Shipley said. "The facility is secure and all juveniles there are accounted for."

They were not named; charges are pending.

Nine juveniles in total were involved in the fracas, and all will be transferred from the facility, Cleary said. Based on initial reports, it does not appear that any of the youth involved were injured, he said.

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"DJS executive staff are on the grounds and additional DJS staff have been called in to help supervise the youth population," Cleary wrote in an emailed statement. "An investigation is pending."

In a statement about the incident at Victor Cullen, AFSCME union president Patrick Moran emphasized staffing issues at such facilities.

"For months, we have consistently warned that an incident like this was inevitable because of the ongoing staffing crisis in detention facilities, hospitals and departments across Maryland. … Every day staff at Victor Cullen Center go into work unsure of when they'll be able to leave because of short staffing."

"Our kids deserve better. Our staff deserve better. Maryland deserves better."

The center can house up to 48 boys between the ages of 15 and 18, who enroll in school classes and a six- to nine-month treatment program for mental health and substance abuse, according to the state's website.