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Legislator sends AG back to drawing board for YDC compensation scheme

Attorney General John Formera was asked by the Finance Committee to return after his office addressed concerns about YDC’s compensation plan. (Ethan DeWitt-New Hampshire Bulletin)

After raising multiple concerns, the New Hampshire legislature on Wednesday approves a proposed plan to compensate hundreds of people who were sexually and physically abused while detained at a former youth development center. refused to

Instead, the Joint Legislative and Finance Committee has asked Attorney General John Formera to return after his office addresses these concerns.

Senator Lou Dallesandro, a Democrat from Manchester, told Formera: He added: A delay in justice is a denial of justice, and some of these people have waited a very long time. ”

Lawmakers have earmarked $100 million to compensate victims of child abuse while in state-run detention centers. House Bill 1677 directed the Attorney General to create a settlement process that offers victims a friendlier and faster alternative to court battles. Formera came to the finance committee on Wednesday to seek approval to go ahead with the proposed plan. This includes claim forms, guidelines for evaluating sexual and physical abuse, and state processes for investigating claims and determining whether and how much to pay a victim.

Some Finance Committee members acknowledged the difficult task given to Formella and praised the Office for its efforts. But their questions and concerns made up the bulk of the three-hour meeting.

Milford Republican Senator Gary Daniels said the current residency of the renamed Sununu Youth Services Center, given Formera’s proposed plans only refer to those who “lived” in the facility. “I think they would qualify,” Formulaa said.

Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, a Wolfeboro Republican and co-sponsor of House Bill 1677, pointed out that if a victim is assaulted multiple times, they get paid less for each abuse. “One (incident) is devastating, whether it’s sexual abuse or physical abuse, but multiple incidents are exponentially devastating,” he told Formella.

Senator Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat, asked why compensation for oral and anal rape is different. “It’s all rape, right? And it’s rape of children,” she said. Formera said the department considered many factors when evaluating abuse, including input from victims’ attorneys.

Payouts are capped at $1.5 million for sexual abuse or sexual and physical abuse and $150,000 for physical abuse. Child advocates and lawyers who represent more than 600 victims criticize the victims for being too underrated.

Rosenwald also expressed concern about Formella’s forecast for an average prize pool of $700,000. If so, there would be enough money to settle the 142 victims alone. She asked Formera if she expected to pursue the remaining claims in court.

Formera said mitigating factors, such as the state’s knowledge of the abuses at the time, could lower those rulings. He said he did not know how many victims would choose to sue, but he was prepared to defend the country in court.

“I have always viewed this process as an alternative option that the state could offer, but it is not the process we are proposing because we are afraid of filing a lawsuit,” Formella said. “So we are ready to sue if necessary.”

Kearsarge Republican and HB 1677 co-sponsor and committee chair Karen Amberger wants to know how incarcerated victims find lawyers to help them navigate the reconciliation process. I was. “I don’t even know if anyone is currently in jail. But I really didn’t see any good procedures here.”

Formera told her that a significant number of victims are currently in prison, many of whom have the same lawyers. No,” he told Umberger. “We can discuss this with the Department of Corrections.”

After the meeting, spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, Michael Garrity, thanked the committee for its feedback and said, “We look forward to resubmitting the updated documents.”

States are expected to begin accepting claims on January 1, and must have a claims administrator before then. Garrity said he is confident that if the committee approves the revised plan, he will be on track to meet the deadline.

This story was originally new hampshire bulletinan independent local newsroom that allows NH Business Review and other media to republish its reports.