Department of Juvenile Justice officials say 19 investigators and the head of investigations have been suspended while authorities investigate claims of sexual abuse of juvenile inmates.
The department's employees were suspended Thursday in the wake of a U.S. Department of Justice report that listed four of the state's detention centers among the worst in the country in terms of sexual abuse of detainees.
WSB-TV reported that Commissioner Avery Niles suspended the employees upon learning that investigations into 20 cases of alleged abuse remain unresolved.
Department spokesman Jim Shuler says internal investigations are supposed to be concluded within 45 days, the unresolved cases were filed last year. Niles has asked the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the state Department of Corrections to conduct an independent audit of the agency.