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Ex-Youth Ranch employee indicted
Jul 18, 2006 12:00 am
Two men and a former Wilson County Youth Ranch employee were indicted by a grand jury this week on charges the employee allowed the two men to have sexual relations with underage girls.
Amy J. Morrison-King, a former employee of the Youth Ranch facility on Rocky Road in Lebanon, is accused of using a facility van to pick up Gary Jackson, 24, and Christopher L. Carver, 20, and bringing them back to house. She then allowed the two men access to underage girls – who are under Department of Children's Services custody – and allowed them to have sex with two 15-year-old girls, Lebanon Police Chief Scott Bowen said Wednesday.
The 40-year-old woman, who previously resided in Murfreesboro and is believed to be in Indiana, is charged with two counts of criminal responsibility for statutory rape and four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
"She used the Youth Ranch van to go pick these individuals up, and brought them back to the Youth Ranch facility," Bowen said. "… If she hadn't brought them there, this wouldn't have happened."
Bowen said Lebanon police are "in the process of trying to find these individuals (and have them) arrested."
Both men are each charged with one count of statutory rape. They are set to appear in court Sept. 21.
The Wilson County Youth Ranch is a private nonprofit which has a contract with DCS to provide a home to troubled teens in state custody. A main campus is located on Benders Ferry Road in Mt. Juliet while other satellite sites such as the Rocky Road house are sprinkled throughout the county.
DCS spokesman Rob Johnson said the department is continuing its investigation, adding it is working with Youth Ranch employees in an atmosphere of a leadership "vacuum."
"There have been some serious concerns raised, but we're taking the idea we need to do everything we can to support them while still maintaining the safety of the kids," Johnson said Wednesday.
A previous incident involving the suspected sexual assault of a female employee by two juvenile males at the main Youth Ranch facility in Mt. Juliet facility heated up after managers failed to report the alleged assault. Failure to report the incident is being investigated by the Wilson County Sheriff's Department, the district attorney's office and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Youth Ranch Executive Director Ron Smith was suspended earlier this month when the alleged assault came to light. He has since resigned.
Reached Wednesday, Youth Ranch President Jeff Rowlett said the facility did have a serving executive director, but refused to name who it was, saying only the Ranch was "cooperating fully" with the investigation.
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 45 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.