Federal officials and state police are investigating allegations that young men enrolled in a residential job training program were sexually assaulted with broom handles last month by other students at a Job Corps center near Harpers Ferry, W.Va.

Some of the trainees were allegedly stripped of their clothes and tied to beds or forcibly paraded around dormitories by other male residents in the hourlong, daylight incident on June 17. Details were related to The Washington Post by one trainee and by several adult center employees who have spoken with some of the victims at length. All requested that their names not be published.

At least two, and possibly as many as five, students were sexually assaulted at different times with broom handles while other young men, ages 16 to 21, stood by and laughed, the student and employees said.

Trooper D.D. Wolfe of the West Virginia State Police said last week that he had received two allegations of first-degree sexual assault from students. He said he had interviewed about 10 youths and planned to reinterview about five before deciding whether to recommend charges to a prosecuting attorney.

The Job Corps center, about 60 miles northwest of the District, is part of a national employment training program run by the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Park Service.

The 150 participants, many of them high school dropouts, live at the center for one to two years, earning a small salary while learning such skills as carpentry, plumbing, welding and bricklaying. The young men come from Maryland, West Virginia and nearby states. The center employs about 45 people.

"The center is really out of control," said the student interviewed by The Post, who later told state police that he was sexually assaulted. He said in the interview that he was grabbed, stripped and held down by "10 to 12 of them" for about 20 minutes. No supervisors could be seen near the center's three dormitories during the disturbance, which took place between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m., the student said.

"There wasn't much talking involved -- just a lot of wrestling and fighting," he said.

John Hale, director of the Harpers Ferry Job Corps Center, said the June 17 incident is the third disturbance this year at the facility, a sprawling complex of low brick buildings with minimal security.

In April, several students from one dormitory beat up several trainees at a nearby dorm, Hale said. He confirmed that two months earlier a fire was set in a dorm being rehabilitated, gutting the structure. He estimated damage at $25,000, noting that both incidents were investigated internally and resulted in no criminal charges.

Trooper Wolfe said he was first called to the center the night of the June 17 incident in response to a phone call from a parent of one of the victims. "I had some misinformation" on that night, Wolfe said, adding that he returned to conduct several hours of interviews three days later.

Hale said no one alleged to him that a sexual assault had occurred until several days after the incident, and students were not examined by medical professionals until the Tuesday and Thursday after the Sunday disturbance.

Regulations call for written reports to be made immediately after serious incidents. Hale said he made his first written report to Labor and Park Service officials four days after the attacks. Describing the incident as "horseplay," the director said some youths "were playing around, fooling around" near a shower area when the action got rough.

He said no medical evidence of a sexual assault has been found. "Everything is in rather good shape, I'd say now," Hale said last week.

The Labor Department and the National Park Service said internal inquiries are still underway. "I am concerned about it," said regional Job Corps director Edith G. McDonald, of the Labor Department.

Job Corps center employees interviewed said that based on their conversations with alleged victims, it appears that some initially were ashamed to admit that they had been sexually assaulted and still remain fearful of retaliation from their fellow students.

One trainee told a Job Corps employee that he had barricaded himself inside his locker for about 20 minutes while two youths taunted him to "come out and get it over with," according to the center worker. The trainee told employees that he tried to get away but was caught by a group of youths with a broom.

Another trainee told a center employee of walking into a dorm and hearing, "We got one." The student described being stripped and paraded through the halls. "I was poked -- stuck inside the rectum with a broom," he said.

The trainee said he was told "Just hold still" and "It's better to shut up."

"Before I leave or they leave, they're going to get theirs," another alleged victim told Job Corps employees. One youth told adults at the center that he knows of seven trainees who were attacked or humiliated, and "they can't say {anything} about it."

Director Hale said security is "probably adequate" at the Harpers Ferry center. He said five people were on duty on June 17, though "additional staff would be beneficial . . . . We don't always have somebody in a dorm at every moment."

"These kids are traumatized," said a center employee. "They're all wanting to leave."

The internal investigation "is not being taken care of properly," said the worker. "These kids are not going to have their civic rights or human rights if incidents like this aren't dealt with properly."

"It's a good program, but they've got a lot of troublemakers," said the student interviewed by The Post. "If the staff can't be there . . . the program's going to go to hell."