MILTON, Fla. (WALA) - A former employee at a now closed female juvenile detention center in Milton, Florida is behind bars.
Ernest Parker is charged with abusing young inmates, and he's not the first worker at the facility to ended up in jail.
Parker was booked into the Santa Rosa County Jail Monday on a variety of charges that include battery and sexual assault. The victims were all inmates at the Milton Girls Juvenile Residential Facility.
"The Santa Rosa County Sheriff's Office received some information from the Department of Children and Family Services. They contacted our investigators, and the investigation began approximately in December last year, and it was just concluded yesterday morning," Deputy Rich Aloy said.
The "tip" that brought attention to Parker came at the same time another employee was under investigation.
Offiicials said Parker's arrest stems from the same investigation that was launched back in December that resulted in this facility being shut down following the discovery of a shocking videotape.
The surveillance video was released in December that shows a corrections worker slam a 15-year-old into a wall. In the video, the juvenile was thrown to the floor, and the worker lay on top of her for about 20 minutes.
The worker, Shannon Abbott was arrested and charged with battery. Abbott claimed the teenager hit her with her elbow a number of times.
"It's clear when you look at this video that this juvenile was not resisting and was not trying to fight this person," Sgt. Scott Haines said.
Parker worked at the facility as a Mental Health Technician from April 2012 until December of 2012.
"That is a position where his responsibility is to assist the girls within the facility," Aloy said.
According the Sheriff's Office at least six girls told investigators that they had been too afraid to report the alleged abuse earlier.
Parker is being held on bond totaling more than a $1 million bond.
The state shut the facility down in December after the contract with the independent company that ran the facility expired.
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