A Maine man says he experienced excessive isolation, unnecessary use of force and restraint and was sexually abused during a four-year period in two youth prisons as a teen, according to a recently filed lawsuit.

Alexander Mascal, of Litchfield, was confined to Mountain View Youth Development Center from May 2012 to March 2014, according to the suit filed this week in U.S. District Court. He was then transferred to Long Creek Youth Development Center, where he remained until April 2016.

Long Creek, located in South Portland, became Maine’s only center for the incarceration of juveniles after the Department of Corrections turned Mountain View in Charleston into an adult prison in 2015.

The lawsuit names Long Creek, the Department of Corrections, two former commissioners of the department and several juvenile program workers also employed by the department as defendants. Anna Black, a spokesperson for the department, did not respond to a phone message or email seeking an interview late Friday night.

Thomas Hallett, an attorney for Mascal, also did not respond to a phone or email message seeking an interview late Friday.

The suit says that Mascal, who is now 24, came from a difficult home life, where his parents struggled with substance use disorders and he witnessed their volatile separation. He had multiple mental health diagnoses and a history of psychiatric hospitalization when he first entered Mountain View at age 14.


Almost immediately, he got into trouble for being disruptive, getting into altercations with staff and other children, and engaging in self-harming behavior.

“Alexander was a child in acute crisis,” the suit says. “He was in desperate need of therapeutic supports. Instead, facility staff … responded by placing Alexander in isolation.”

It says Mascal was placed in isolation for periods “far beyond those necessary to alleviate behavior” and at one point spent three months in isolation at Mountain View.

At both youth prisons, the lawsuit says Mascal was subject to physical attacks from staff, often in response to minor infractions or mental health symptoms. In one instance in the summer of 2013, the suit says Mascal placed a piece of paper over the window of his cell door. In response, a juvenile program specialist opened the cell door, tackled Mascal and pinned him face down on his bed.

The program specialist then got on top of Mascal and wrenched his legs up behind him, with his full body weight on Mascal’s back. Mascal cried out in pain and gasped that he was having difficulty breathing, the suit says, to which the program specialist began hitting him in the ribs.

While at Long Creek, the lawsuit says Mascal was subjected to sexual abuse by a female juvenile program worker with whom he had sexual encounters more than 10 times. Mascal was transferred to the Cumberland County Jail in April 2016 and released in February 2017. Mascal had just turned 19 at that time, and the two began openly dating.


The program worker, identified as Elia Atkinson, was 37 years old at the time, and she provided Mascal with alcohol and Suboxone as a means of manipulating him, the lawsuit said. Attempts to reach Atkinson Friday night were not successful.

Mascal eventually reached out to his former caseworker to report the relationship and told a Department of Corrections investigator about the sexual encounters he had while he was a minor incarcerated at Long Creek.

After an initial call with the investigator, Mascal never heard from him again, the lawsuit said, though he later found out that Atkinson’s certificate of eligibility to be a corrections officer was revoked on the basis she furnished alcohol to a minor in February 2017.

The suit noted that Mascal had been diagnosed with an array of mental health disabilities prior to entering Mountain View, including ADHD, PTSD, oppositional defiant disorder and depressive disorder. “Instead of reasonable accommodation, MDOC staff responded with violent escalation: by cornering Alexander, brutally beating him, affixing a spit-mask to his face, and placing him in solitary confinement,” the suit said.

Critics of Maine’s juvenile justice system have been calling for Long Creek’s closure, and a study released in December 2021 cited chronic staff shortages, crushing boredom for imprisoned youths, and a lack of structured and consistent programming to engage them as contributing factors in seven violent episodes at the facility during the summer of 2021.

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