An 8-year-old girl was left traumatized after she was strip-searched by an official at the Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, Virginia.
According to the Virginia-Pilot, the girl was told by officials at the correctional center that if she refused to be strip-searched she would not be able to visit her father.
The child was taken to the facility by her father’s girlfriend, Diamond Peerman. During the visit, a drug-sniffing dog called attention to the pair which caused officials to tell Peerman that they both needed to be strip-searched.
“I told her, that means you have to take all of your clothes off or you’re not going to be able to see your dad,” Peerman told the Virginian-Pilot. “That’s when she started crying.”
The girl texted her mother immediately after the search.
“That’s outrageous,” said Daniel Macallair, executive director of the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice. “It’s generally regarded in the criminal justice field that you do not strip search young children. … I mean most adults, certainly most adults who work in the field of child welfare would know better, that this is an act of child abuse.”
The child’s mother stated that her daughter has bipolar disorder, depression and ADHD, and has missed school because of the pain of the incident.
“She went through something that traumatized her,” she said. “I’m not sending her back there.”
Virginia DOC Director of Communications Lisa Kinney apologized to the child and her family, saying, “It is deeply troubling and represents a breach in our protocol…we will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible.”