Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center Update and Joseph Forrest Guilty Plea | Westword

Youth Services Center Sh*tshow Update: Ex-Staffer Pleads Guilty to Child Porn

The ex-employee's bust was tied to Twitter.
Joseph Forrest's booking photo and an image from video captured during a May 1 riot at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center.
Joseph Forrest's booking photo and an image from video captured during a May 1 riot at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center. Lakewood Police Department/Courtesy of Fox31
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The bad news just keeps coming for the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center, a Golden-based facility for male juvenile offenders. Mere weeks after former staffer Kristin Gonzalez was charged with three felonies and a misdemeanor over accusations that she helped an inmate with whom she had a romantic relationship escape and harbored him for more than a year before he was taken into custody again, another ex-employee has ’fessed up to possessing child pornography.

Joseph Forrest, age fifty, has pleaded guilty to two sexual-exploitation-of-a-child counts — Class 4 felonies that can bring two to six years in prison and fines ranging from $2,000 to $500,000.

We've been cataloguing incidents at Lookout Mountain for years. Some lowlights:

• A 2010 report about sexual abuse at juvenile facilities found that Lookout Mountain's stats were the worst in the state.

• Inmate Zachary Oliver allegedly racked up 243 offenses before escaping in August 2014 by beating an elderly guard with a bag of rocks.

• This past May, a riot at the center caused injuries to four inmates and ten workers.

• Days later, two teenage sex offenders escaped. They were later recaptured.

• In June, a former inmate told us that assaults and other violent disruptions at Lookout Mountain were frequent, drugs and sex were far from uncommon, and the system always seemed on the brink of total collapse.

• That same month, violent offender Quinn Scaggs busted out of the center, where he'd earlier hurt an employee so severely that the man never returned to work. Scaggs was finally recaptured in August after he was said to have taken part in multiple pistol-whippings.

For his part, Forrest was taken into custody by the Lakewood Police Department in April. His arrest affidavit maintains that his Twitter account was removed after an investigator from the National Center for Missing and Endangered Children found that he'd posted several explicit images of young girls. Another pic proved to be his undoing: A photo of him naked on his apartment deck also included a view of a black GMC pickup that authorities were able to link to his address.

Lookout Mountain quickly put Forrest on administrative leave, but not before taking another public-relations hit. His sentencing hearing is set for December 12.
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