Angst grows among neighbors of girls home

DAMASCUS – Patience is growing thin with the Sharon Lynn Home for Girls.

A neighboring resident spoke to Goshen Township trustees Monday regarding what he called a “real problem” in the area being caused by the residents of the home, citing an increase in violence, sexual assaults and runaways since the home originally opened. He also noted that staff turnover seems extremely high and the facility management disorganized.

Police Chief Steve McDaniel responded that the state operates the facility, which is not locked down. He said that the girls cannot be arrested without cause and that although patrol is increased in the area, a walk-through of the facility only aggravates the situation.

McDaniel encouraged the resident and others frustrated by the facility to write letters stating their complaints that he can pass on to the home’s owners.

McDaniel also warned residents to avoid interaction with the residents of the home. He said to call police immediately if approached by a resident or if a disturbance occurs.

The home houses up to 16 girls at any given time. The police department has responded to the home 16 times since the beginning of April for cases ranging from sexual offenses and assault to criminal damaging and theft. Officers have recently made arrests at the home following a large brawl outside the facility and after three residents allegedly stole items from a neighboring building.