Sheriff’s deputies reportedly strip searched children who were appearing in the new Philadelphia Family Court for criminal and non-criminal cases.
The invasive searches happened all day on Monday at the court and possibly part of Tuesday as well, multiple sources told CBS Philadelphia.
However, when the juveniles complained about the strip searches to adults who work at the court, administrative judge Kevin Dougherty immediately called for an end to the practice.
Some of the children were in court for custody hearings and may have previously been sexually assaulted.
According to Philly.com, some of the children were as young as 11 and were strip searched in view of other kids. They were told to take off all their clothing, squat and cough by deputies from the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office.
The Philadelphia Sheriff's Office refused to comment on the actions of its deputies and directed questions to the Philadelphia Family Court.
Frank Keel, spokesman for the Philadelphia Family Court, issued a statement this week: “On Tuesday morning of this week, in response to concerns raised by child advocates over allegations of strip searches of juveniles, the leadership of Philadelphia Family Court directed the Sheriff’s Office to cease and desist all strip searches pending further notice. Today, Family Court issued new rules governing the screening and detention of juveniles that the Court developed in collaboration with the Sheriff’s Office.”