Attorneys of the D.C. government, acting on instructions from Mayor Marion Barry, yesterday asked a Superior Court judge for permission to make public a confidential report detailing the city's handling of an 11-year-old boy who was sexually assaulted in a courthouse cell last year.
The D.C. Corporation Counsel filed the unusual request with Judge Gladys Kessler, chief of the court's family division, who said she will review the request immediately and decide next week whether a court hearing on the report should be held.
Pauline Schneider, director of the mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, said that Barry called from out of town to ask that the request be taken to court because of continuing pressure from the City Council and the public for an explanation of the incident.
City officials have maintained that the report, prepared earlier this week by police officials and officials in the Corporation Counsel's office, is confidential under the city's juvenile justice code and have refused to release it.
Barry ordered the report after it was revealed this week that 4th District police last May had arrested the 11-year-old Northwest boy and charged him with assault after he struck a friend in the head with a baseball bat while playing.
Police turned the boy over to deputy U.S. marshals at Superior Court, who placed him in a cell with older youths pending a court hearing. There the boy was attacked by 14-year-old and 17-year-old cellmates and forced to commit sodomy. He was later found to have contracted syphilis.
Barry's directive to take the report to court came shortly before an attorney for the boy's family delivered a letter to the city seeking a copy of the report.
Relatives of the boy, who have said they intend to sue the Marshals Service for $1 million, have told court officials and officials at Childrens Hospital, where the boy continues to receive psychiatric treatment, that they will waive the confidentiality requirement.