Madison— The Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken a lead role in the investigation of a troubled north woods prison for youth that has been shaken by allegations of abuse of juveniles.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported in December that the FBI was assisting with a state-led probe into abuses at Lincoln Hills School for Boys and Copper Lake School for Girls, a shared facility 30 miles north of Wausau. But the FBI has since taken a leadership role in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The FBI’s greater involvement opens up the possibility that authorities could be probing violations of federal law at the prison, where state court documents show that investigators have been looking into a range of potential crimes, including second-degree sexual assault, physical child abuse, and intimidation of victims and witnesses.
Avenues for the FBI could include civil rights violations as well as the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003, which sought to reduce sexual assaults in prisons and which covers both state and federal institutions….