The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, December 5, 1997

Boot camp officer accused of breaking youth's arm
By Charles Walston

The Department of Juvenile Justice was warned eight months ago that several officers at a Middle Georgia boot camp might be physically abusing young offenders.

Now one of the officers faces a criminal charge of cruelty to children after allegedly breaking the arm of a youth.

Frederick Howard, 26, has been suspended without pay while the charge against him is pending, DJJ spokeswoman Jaci Vickers said Thursday. Howard, a two-year employee of the department, is free on bail.

Howard was arrested by Milledgeville police on Nov. 8, the same day that he allegedly broke the arm of a male detainee in the boot camp program at a Youth Development Campus in Milledgeville. Other staffers at the YDC notified authorities of the incident, Vickers said.

According to John Johnson, a corrections officer at the YDC, the injured youth told other juveniles that Howard broke his arm because he was unable to do push-ups that Howard ordered him to do.

Last March, Johnson warned DJJ officials about alleged abuse of youths by Howard and other boot camp officers. In an affidavit, Johnson accused Howard of hitting juveniles at the boot camp, throwing objects at them, and ordering them to clean toilets with their toothbrushes.

DJJ has been investigating Johnson's allegations since last spring, but the investigation is still not complete, Vickers said Thursday.

Return to Newsroom Index or to Table of Contents.