Transgender Connecticut teen found safe after escaping custody

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 17, 2014 1:37 PM

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A transgender teenager whose detainment without charges at a Connecticut adult prison sparked protests this year, was back at a juvenile detention facility after fleeing a private treatment center, state officials said on Wednesday.

Hartford police picked up the 16-year-old, who was born male but identifies as female, hours after she escaped from a therapeutic treatment facility on Tuesday, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families said in a statement.

"We are relieved that she is not injured and we want to thank the Hartford Police Department for their diligent and effective work," the statement said.

The girl, identified as Jane Doe because of her age, has reported suffering years of violence, sexual abuse and repeated transfers among foster-care homes and detention facilities. Her story has attracted supporters from across the country.

In April, a judge approved her transfer to a women's prison after she was accused of assaulting staff at a juvenile facility. Dozens of advocates, including transgender rights groups, demonstrated against the incarceration at rallies in New York and Hartford.

She was transferred to the Connecticut Juvenile Training School, an all boys correctional facility. The DCF said she escaped while attending her first session at an offsite day program that offered therapy for emotional traumas.

She has been returned to the juvenile detention center and will receive therapeutic clinical treatment, but not necessarily with the offsite program, DCF spokesman Gary Kleeblatt said.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney; Editing by Scott Malone and David Gregorio)