ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – A former staff member of the Hastings Youth Academy, which houses moderate risk youth offenders in Department of Juvenile Justice custody, is accused of giving two teenagers permission to have sex and acting as their lookout.
LaPorsha McCall, 24, was arrested Wednesday night on felony charges of child neglect and being a principle to lewd and lascivious battery.
According to the St. Johns County Sheriff's Office, McCall was in charge of two teenage boys, ages 14 and 17, in April at the privately run facility that uses state money to house juvenile offender boys. Teens live at the facility and they're not able to come or go because, essentially, it's a form of punishment and rehabilitation.
During a counseling session, one of the teens revealed they were in a relationship and looking for a place to have sex, deputies said. While the teens were cleaning a dorm, one of them asked McCall if they could have sex in one of the rooms and she agreed, the Sheriff's Office said.
Investigators said surveillance video shows McCall standing in the doorway, looking into the room.
"We received allegations that this individual was, in fact, allowing two juveniles to have sexual activity while she, in fact, guarded at the door," said Cmdr. Chuck Mulligan, SJCSO public information officer. "Her job was to prevent that kind of behavior."
McCall was booked into the St. Johns County Jail on a $35,000 bond.
A former employee at Hastings Youth Academy, who wished to remain anonymous, told News4Jax he was surprised to hear about the allegations.
"Wow, that is crazy," he said. "I have kids. And pretty much, when your kids come to a place like this, you expect them to be safe."
The former employee said he's now concerned about the safety of the children at the academy.
A DJJ spokesperson released the following statement to News4Jax Thursday:
"The Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) takes seriously any allegation made by youth in our care, and we expect the same from our contracted providers. When DJJ learned of these allegations, an internal investigation was initiated immediately at Hastings Youth Academy where McCall worked and law enforcement was notified. The staff member is no longer employed at Hastings Youth Academy and has not been employed at the program since May. DJJ will continue to conduct an internal review and work with law enforcement regarding this matter."