Authorities capture escaped juvenile offender in New Orleans, police say
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A teen offender who escaped from custody Wednesday (May 31) after being transported to a juvenile court hearing in New Orleans has been captured, authorities said.
The teenager was apprehended in the 1700 block of Elizardi Boulevard. The teen is now facing charges of simple escape and theft. The charges stem from the initial escape on May 31, during which the teenager allegedly took state property from the Office of Juvenile Justice.
A law enforcement source identified the escapee as 17-year-old Curtis Tassin, who last year was one of five teens who escaped from the Bridge City Center for Youth. Tassin also escaped in the summer of 2021 from the Swanson Correctional Facility near Monroe.
Tassin escaped Wednesday from a transport vehicle shortly after it arrived at the Juvenile Justice Intervention Center at 1100 Milton St., New Orleans police confirmed.
A law enforcement source confirmed Tassin escaped from the van near the sally port where inmates are typically taken into juvenile court.
The state Office of Juvenile Justice refused to disclose the escapee’s name or photograph, despite the danger posed to the public and a state victims rights law requiring notification to victims and witnesses of an offender’s escape “by the most reasonable and expedient means possible.”
Nicolette Gordon, public information director for the OJJ, issued a statement saying only that the escapee was “a 17-year-old male from Orleans Parish,” who escaped at 8:11 a.m. after arrival at the New Orleans Juvenile Justice Intervention Center.
“At this point, with the level of juvenile crime and the level of violence that we have gotten to in juvenile crime, the public certainly has a right to know if one of these violent juvenile offenders has escaped a facility,” said Laura Rodrigue, a former top prosecutor under prior Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, and a backer of the bill to require five parishes across Louisiana to publicly disclose information on arrested juveniles accused of violent offenses.
“We are seeing juvenile offenders among some of the most violent in our city right now,” Rodrigue continued. “So we certainly would be on high alert and expect that this person will go right back to committing the same type of crime that he has become accustomed to committing, and that is why the public has a right to know.”
Attorney General Jeff Landry says the search shows the need for reform and transparency in the juvenile justice system.
“The state of our juvenile criminal justice system is equal to our criminal justice system,” Landry said. “Both of them are broken right now, and the statistics and the crime and the violence that you all are reporting on a daily basis basically tells us and the citizens of this state that the system is broken.”
Tassin was being transported by the Office of Juvenile Justice from the Acadiana Center for Youth in St. Martinsville.
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