NewsDenver7 | Investigates


Lawsuit alleges brutality at youth detention facility in Lakewood

Complaint is against three employees of the Mountain View Youth Services Center in Lakewood
FrankieRhea Chiles.jpg
Posted at 6:00 PM, Jan 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-25 20:44:52-05

LAKEWOOD, Colo. — A former inmate at Mount View Youth Services Center in Lakewood has filed a lawsuit against two detention workers and an administrator of the facility, stating he was assaulted while serving his sentence.

The 17-page complaint, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, alleges that the youth, FrankieRhea Chiles, was picked up by a detention worker on Jan. 26, 2022, and slammed to the ground. The worker then put his knee on Chiles' chest while Chiles cried out that he could not breathe.

The suit also alleges that the director of the facility dismissed Chiles’ claims.

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” Chiles told Denver7 Investigates.

Chiles said he spent 14 months at the facility for his role in an aggravated robbery as a minor.

“I don’t want (anybody) to experience what I experienced,” he said. “I’ve been having nightmares and stuff about this situation.”

Chiles described the incident to Denver7 Investigates, saying that one detention worker pushed him, threw him into the wall and grabbed him by the neck with two hands, lifting him to the ceiling before slamming him down on the floor.

The lawsuit alleges that another employee facilitated the incident by partially closing the door to Chiles’ room, obscuring the camera and blocking his way out of the room.

One of the detention workers, reached by phone Thursday, told Denver7 Investigates, “I’ll take it to my grave: We did nothing wrong. We did everything by the book that day. We did exactly as we were trained by our training officers.”

Chiles’ attorney, Mari Newman, said this case is about abuse of power.

“This is about a youth facility, which is supposed to be helping rehabilitate youth, giving them role models, helping them build a better future, and instead what we see is brutality,” she said.

Mount View Youth Services Center is overseen by the Colorado Department of Human Services, which provided a statement to Denver7.

“The Colorado Department of Human Services refrains from commenting on pending litigation. We can, however, affirm that our utmost focus and commitment is on ensuring the well-being and safety of the youth under our care,” the statement read. “Any concerns that conflict with this commitment are thoroughly investigated internally and by the county Department of Human Services and/or local law enforcement.”

Lawsuit alleges brutality at youth detention facility in Lakewood

D7 follow up bar 2460x400FINAL.png
The Follow Up
What do you want Denver7 to follow up on? Is there a story, topic or issue you want us to revisit? Let us know with the contact form below.