Public Safety

Three injured in 'significant disturbance' at Marion Four Oaks facility

Four Oaks renovated an existing building in Marion for their newly opened residential facility for teenage boys with mental health and behavioral issues. Shot on Friday, November 20, 2015. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Four Oaks renovated an existing building in Marion for their newly opened residential facility for teenage boys with mental health and behavioral issues. Shot on Friday, November 20, 2015. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

MARION — A juvenile and two employees were injured during an incident at Four Oaks in Marion.

According to the Marion Police Department, eleven officers and a Linn County Sheriff’s Office deputy responded to Four Oaks, 4000 Highway 151, at 9:05 p.m. Thursday for a “significant disturbance” at the facility. Authorities said the disturbance started off between residents of the facility and then “escalated toward staff” when they intervened.

Four juveniles at the facility were arrested. Three of the juveniles face multiple counts of assault causing bodily injury and one faces an assault charge. Three of the four were taken to the Linn County Juvenile Detention Center.

Authorities said one Four Oaks resident was taken to a hospital to be treated for injuries received during the disturbance. Two Four Oaks employees were also injured, but declined to be taken to the hospital.

Earlier this year, Marion Police Chief Joseph McHale said he had growing concerns about the residential facility, noting at the time that Four Oaks ranked third in the city on a list of locations with the most calls for service. Since January 2017, police have been called to the facility for runaways, assaults and acts of vandalism. On February 19, a juvenile at the facility was arrested for assault on a peace officer and interference with official acts for being aggressive with two Marion police officers.

“Something’s broken there,” McHale said in February, while also voicing concerns that staff could lose control of the facility.

Kelli Malone, Four Oaks’ chief program officer told The Gazette that the facility is home to boys who have experienced severe trauma and have been assigned to the facility by the Department of Human Services or Juvenile Court Service. That trauma can lead to challenging behaviors, Malone said.

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Malone and McHale both said they were committed to speaking with each other in order to address any issues at the facility. Police said Friday those conversations are continuing.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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