More than 200 people gather for protest at Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center

Groups protest in light of lawsuit's allegations of abuse at center

By Patricia Martellotti - Reporter

STAUNTON, Va. - Dozens of groups from all over the region showed up for a two-hour protest called the Stop Torturing Children Rally.

More than 200 people gathered outside the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Staunton where a lawsuit alleges young immigrants have been abused.

“None of us want our children mistreated,” rally organizer Linda Revis said.

Delegate Lee Carter, of the 50th District, came to demand entry to the facility, but he was denied access.

“I want to see how many kids they have and what conditions they're being held in,” Carter said.

Children held signs with other children.

One woman held a baby doll with a sign on it that read, "Where's my mom?" in Spanish.

Jennifer Lewis, the Democratic candidate for the 6th Congressional District seat, was pleased to see a strong community presence.

“I am here to support the overall movement to make sure we are calling for and advocating for transparency, accountability and a full investigation that will be released to the public,” Lewis said.

Carter said whether or not the allegations of abuse are true, the fact remains that some of the children are being separated from their families.

“They are now being incarcerated. That is abusive,” Carter said.

Lewis said she hopes everyone at the protest will show up in November and vote with a conscience.

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