The Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

A man who was held in a Maine youth prison 20 years ago is suing the state, alleging he was subject to excessive periods of isolation and sexual abuse when he was supposed to get rehabilitation.

Todd Hood, who was intermittently held at the Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland from age 11 until he was “bound over” to an adult facility at 18, roughly 1998 to 2005, filed the complaint Monday in U.S. District Court in Portland.

He says he was often held in isolation for 23 hours a day and often physically restrained and strip-searched, violating state laws and his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment. He also alleges that the state denied him access to treatment and educational opportunities.

The complaint asks for varying types of damages, but does not specify an amount. It also doesn’t state why he was held at Long Creek. Juvenile records are typically sealed under Maine law. The facility is now the state’s only correctional facility for juveniles.

His attorneys, Andrew Cotter, James Clifford and Peter Clifford, did not respond to calls and emails Tuesday seeking to discuss the complaint. Hood could not be reached directly to discuss the allegations.

The complaint names the Maine Department of Corrections as a defendant, as well as several former Long Creek employees and leaders in their individual capacities. That includes former DOC commissioner Martin Magnussen, former superintendents Lars Olsen and Rodney Bouffard, former Associate Commissioner of Juvenile Services Mary Ann Saar, psychologist Barbara Heath and eight counselors who worked at Long Creek while Hood was there.


A DOC spokesperson and Commissioner Randall Liberty, who is not named in the complaint, did not respond to an email asking to discuss the case. It’s unclear if the department will be represented by the Maine Office of the Attorney General, which also did not respond to a request to discuss the lawsuit.

Hood isn’t the first to sue the state for alleged mistreatment at Long Creek. In September 2022, a Litchfield man who was incarcerated as a juvenile from 2012 to 2016 sued the state alleging he was sexually abused and illegally isolated from others. In 2019, the state paid $500,000 to a man to drop a lawsuit alleging he was subjected to long, unwarranted periods in isolation and restraints, although the state admitted no fault in the case.

Maine lawmakers have explored closing Long Creek, as the facility sees fewer detainees each year and advocates are urging the state to prioritize rehabilitation over incarceration. Gov. Janet Mills vetoed an effort to close the facility in 2021, saying the bill was a “simplistic solution to a complex problem.”

Hood’s complaint states that the prison and its staff were supposed to “rehabilitate” young people like him with education and treatment.

But instead, Hood alleges, he was held in excessive periods of isolation – completely separated from others in an 8-foot by 10-foot cell for far beyond the 72-hour cap outlined in state law. The cell had little ventilation and there was “excessive heat in the summer,” the complaint states, “and inadequate heat in the winter.”

Staff often withheld exercise opportunities, meals and clothing as punishment, according to the complaint. He also alleges that staff improperly used plastic and mechanical restraints on Hood, holding him in uncomfortable positions.


All of this was in violation of Hood’s Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment, his attorneys wrote, and none of this served Long Creek’s purported goals of treatment and rehabilitation.

“Prolonged confinement in isolation had serious, entirely foreseeable, detrimental effects upon the mental health of Plaintiff,” the complaint states. “Because his problems were not being dealt with during the period of isolation, his behavior deteriorated and his emotional development was inhibited.”

The complaint alleges this all led to “severe emotional problems, including: anxiety, depression, and panic, which caused him to persist in emotional outbursts, which were then used by staff to justify his continued isolation.”

Hood also alleges that he was sexually abused while in custody.

When he was 13, Hood said, he was sexually abused by two inmates, one of whom was an adult, at the Cumberland County Jail.

Hood reported the incident to a juvenile teacher, according to the complaint, but he was not offered medical attention or mental health counseling and the assault was not investigated. It’s not clear why Hood was being held at the adult jail at the time.

Hood alleges that was again assaulted two years later by an adult resident who was being held at Long Creek on sexual assault charges, and had to spend a week in the infirmary for his injuries. Hood again reported the assault and a rape kit was performed, but nothing happened to his assailant, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit says Hood was forced to see his assailant on a near-daily basis afterward.

The complaint also alleges that Long Creek officers often strip-searched Hood even when he “clearly had no opportunity or means by which to obtain or conceal any contraband on account of being in physical restraints, naked and only moments earlier, physically ‘searched for contraband.’ “

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.