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Two Mass. men among 7 arrested in ongoing probe at N.H. youth facility

The Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester, N.H.
The Sununu Youth Services Center in Manchester, N.H.Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Two men from Massachusetts were among seven former workers at a New Hampshire youth detention center arrested Wednesday as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged child sex abuse at the Manchester facility, officials said.

Jeffrey Buskey, 54, of Quincy, and Stephen Murphy, 51, of Danvers, former counselors at the center, were arrested Wednesday, the New Hampshire attorney general’s office said in a statement.

The pair were were first charged in 2019 for allegedly sexually molesting a teen at the former New Hampshire Youth Detention Center in 1997 and 1998, according to prior Globe reporting. The center has since been renamed the Sununu Youth Services Center.

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But those charges were dismissed last year in order to strengthen the wider investigation. Buskey and Murphy now face several new charges, according to the statement.

Buskey is charged with five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault that four former YDC residents allege occurred between 1996 and 1999, the statement said. Murphy is charged with five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault that three former residents allege occurred between 1997 and 1999, the statement said.

Four men from New Hampshire and one from Florida were also charged in the probe into allegations of abuse at the center between 1994 and 2005, the statement said.

On Thursday, the attorney general’s office announced the arrest of Gordon Thomas Searles, 65, of Brooksville, Fla., on a rape charge. The charge involves an allegation by one former resident of the YDC occurring between 1995-1998. He was being held without bail in Florida, prosecutors said.

Searles was one of several defendants named in a lawsuit filed last year in which more than 200 men and women allege they were physically or sexually abused as children by 150 staffers at the Manchester center from 1963 to 2018.

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According to their attorney, children were gang raped by counselors, beaten while raped, forced to compete for food in “fight clubs” set up by counselors, and locked in solitary confinement for weeks or months.

Bradley Asbury, 66, of Dunbarton, N.H., is charged with aggravated felonious sexual assault (accomplice) that allegedly occurred between 1997 and 1998, the statement said.

Frank Davis, 79, of Contoocook, N.H., is charged with one count of aggravated felonious sexual assault and five counts of sexual assault that two former residents allege occurred between 1996 and 1997.

Lucien Poulette, 65, of Auburn, N.H., is charged with 11 counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault, 12 counts of felonious sexual assault, and 10 counts of sexual assault that seven former residents allege occurred between 1994 and 2005, the statement said.

James Woodlock, 56, of Manchester, N.H., is charged with three counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault (accomplice) that two former residents allege occurred between 1997 and 1999, the statement said.

The other six men made initial court appearances Thursday. Bail hearings were delayed until Friday for four of them, while a judge set bail at $100,000 for Poulette and $50,000 for Asbury.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.