A nurse accused of sexually abusing four teenage boys at the state Juvenile Corrections Center in Nampa denies doing anything wrong, according to a filing in a civil lawsuit.
Valerie K. Lieteau, who is charged in a separate criminal case with two counts of sexual battery on a child and two counts of sexual conduct with a juvenile offender, denies “all allegations of negligence, tortuous, criminal or other blameworthy conduct,” according to the civil suit filing.
Lieteau, 41, who worked as a licensed practical nurse at the detention center from July 2008 to June 2011, said the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are seeking damages that would unjustly enrich them.
“The plaintiffs are guilty of negligent and careless misconduct at the time of and in connection with the events and damages alleged,” Lieteau claims in a filing by Boise attorney Jon Cox. “Misconduct on their part proximately caused and contributed to said events and the plaintiff’s resultant damages, if any.”
Lieteau is named in the suit, along with Julie McCormick, the juvenile center’s former director of safety and security, and Esperanza Jimenez, a student intern from a medical assisting program at the Milan Institute in Nampa. They are each accused of sexually abusing juvenile inmates.
The suit also seeks damages from Juvenile Corrections Director Sharon Harrigfeld; Betty Grimm, the former superintendent of the Nampa facility; and the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections. The plaintiffs claim officials ignored complaints and failed to protect teenage inmates.
All of the defendants have denied the accusations. Only Lieteau singled out the alleged victims for blame.
Lieteau is accused of grooming the boys and having sex with them in a private examination room. Other encounters allegedly took place at her home, where she invited an inmate out on pass. She is also accused of following one inmate to his hometown in another Idaho city and having sex with him there while he was on leave.
Jimenez was serving an internship through the Milan Institute in Nampa. She was accused of sexually abusing one of the teenagers that Lieteau allegedly abused. Jimenez also allegedly served as a lookout for Lieteau during some of the abuse episodes.
Jimenez was never criminally charged.
McCormick, now 34, was convicted of lewd conduct and sent to prison in March 2014. She had groomed a 15-year-old inmate two years earlier and abused the boy during a monthlong series of encounters in her office.
McCormick spent less than a year in prison before being released last February. She remains on probation until 2025.
Eventually, nine boys and a girl claimed they were sexually abused by staff members as far back as 2008.
The revelations brought a criminal investigation by Nampa police, led to Grimm’s retirement and the firing of several other employees. It also caused the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections to institute changes to protect the safety of youthful offenders in the 84-bed Nampa center and others in Lewiston and St. Anthony.
Lieteau, who now resides in San Jose, Calif., no longer works as a nurse. Her Idaho license expired in August 2014 and licenses in California and Nevada have also lapsed.
She pleaded not guilty to the criminal charges against her and is scheduled to go to trial in Canyon County in March.