Sheriff’s Deputies Force Children to Strip, Squat and Cough at Philadelphia Court

Deputies with the Philadelphia Police Department reportedly strip-searched minors who were making appearances for hearings at the Philadelphia Family Courthouse

CBS Philadelphia reports that multiple sources state sheriff’s deputies ordered juveniles in county custody to “remove all their clothes, to squat, and to cough.” The searches happened individuals and in small groups.

KYW Newsradio said multiple sources told them the searches were cancelled after the children complained and court authorities were notified. The incidents took place on Monday November 17 and possibly Tuesday the 18th. The courthouse officially  opened on the 17th.

A statement from the Family Court stated:

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.”

As CBS notes, “not all of the young people searched were in custody on a criminal matter” and some had been the victims of  physical, sexual, or emotional abuse.