CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) — Recruits training to be court officers in Massachusetts were subjected to being struck in the face and choked by some instructors who created a culture of fear, according to an investigation.
The 100-page report into conditions at the Trial Court Officer Academy in Chicopee released Thursday found incidents of violence against at least five members of the academy’s last class, and members of several classes “described a culture of fear, intimidation, humiliation, disrespect, punishment-based discipline, and retaliation,” The Boston Globe reported.
The report dated Dec. 17 was written by a team of independent assessors. Court officers provide security at the state’s courts.
The academy was closed in September after abuse allegations first arose, and remains closed, according to a statement from Paula Carey, chief justice of the Trial Court, and court administrator John Bello.
The report’s recommendations are being reviewed, they said.
The academy adopted a “paramilitary” training model in 2014 as part of an effort to “professionalize” itself, but it has used instructors who were not trained or qualified for the job, according to the report.
The assessors recommended the academy consider adopting “a non-residential, daytime collegiate model” and move to a better equipped facility.
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