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New York youth facility staff fear for their safety

The troubled Tryon Residential Center, where a teen died in 2006, is coming under renewed scrutiny, not for the treatment of youngsters but for the alleged abuse of staff members by the youths they are supposed to be watching.

Over the last few weeks, state lawmakers and unions representing workers at the Fulton County facility have been complaining that new guidelines designed to overhaul the state's youth centers and to make them more therapeutic and less prison-like have gone too far, putting the adults at risk. Bringing the debate to a head was an incident last month when a veteran aide, Charles Loftly, was assaulted by three teens with a 2×4 from a dismantled desk during what several insiders have said was an escape attempt.

Loftly went out on workers' compensation. He suffered a stroke several days later, said Michael Geraghty Jr., the local union president for the Civil Service Employees Association — one of the two major unions, along with the Public Employees Federation, representing workers at Tryon.

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