A booking photo of Quinn Scaggs.
A booking photo of Quinn Scaggs.
Colorado Department of Human Services

Violent Offender Quinn Scaggs Escapes From Troubled Lookout Mountain Center

A manhunt is under way for Quinn Scaggs, seventeen, a violent offender who escaped during the wee hours of today, June 25, from Jefferson County's Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center, which has been mired in controversy over recent months.

The Colorado Department of Human Services reveals that Scaggs was reported missing from his room shortly after midnight today. A number of police agencies responded, including the Golden Police Department, which searched the campus and the surrounding area, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, which deployed a K9, and the Boulder Police Department, which used a drone. However, Scaggs could not be located.

According to the CDHS, Scaggs escaped by removing the window from his ground floor room and used bed sheets tied together to climb over a fence along the center's perimeter.

Scaggs is described as being a 6' 2", 160-pound white male with blond hair and blue eyes. His most distinguishing feature is a tattoo above his right eyebrow that reads: "Loyalty." Scaggs is considered to be so potentially dangerous that anyone who sees him is encouraged to immediately dial 911.

Last week, we catalogued a slew of incidents at the troubled facility, which is designed to provide "an intensive secure treatment program for...male juvenile offenders." Back in 2010, for example, Westword shared a U.S. Justice Department report about sexual abuse in juvenile facilities, and the stats from Lookout Mountain were the worst in Colorado: 12 percent of youth reported being sexually assaulted, well above the national average.

Footage of a May 1 riot at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center. The image has been blurred to protect the identity of the inmates.
Footage of a May 1 riot at Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center. The image has been blurred to protect the identity of the inmates.
Courtesy of Fox31

High-profile escapes have been a part of the Lookout Mountain story for years, too, as exemplified by Zachary Oliver, who chalked up 243 violations at the center prior to August 2014, when he fled after brutally beating an elderly guard with a pillowcase filled with rocks. More recently, on April 11, Golden police revealed the escape of fifteen-year-old Lookout Mountain inmate Devon Brock, who was also considered to be a violent offender. Brock was taken into custody in Littleton on April 12 — but that same day, the center was placed on lockdown because of a tip involving threats against five guards. Information suggested that inmates might have managed to sneak a weapon into the institution; while a subsequent search failed to uncover any guns or knives, a homemade shank was found. Afterward, two inmates were transferred to another facility.

Two weeks later, on April 26, Lookout Mountain made more ugly headlines when Joseph Forrest, a 49-year-old staff member, was arrested by the Lakewood Police Department for suspected sexual exploitation of a child. The LPD pointed out that the charge involved "possession of several images of child pornography." That was followed by a May 1 riot in which four inmates and ten staff members were injured. Then, at 5:20 a.m. on May 6, two sex offenders — inmates Javier Madera, nineteen, and Emilio Dominguez, seventeen — were discovered missing, and they remained at large for more than 24 hours before being captured by members of a fugitive unit associated with the Denver Police Department and the Rocky Mountain Safe Streets Task Force following a crash in the vicinity of Interstate 70 and U.S. 40.

Our most recent item about Lookout Mountain included an interview with a former inmate, who said assaults and other violent disruptions at the center were frequent, drugs and sex were far from uncommon, and the system always seemed on the brink of total collapse. And while Anders Jacobson, executive director for the Colorado Division of Youth Services, didn't address these specific claims, he acknowledged that what had been going down at Lookout Mountain was so disturbing that he recently installed a new interim director and reduced the population there by around a third — 53 inmates — in an effort to regain control.

Not everyone is convinced that Lookout Mountain is on the right track. Indeed, a number of parents are reportedly calling for inmates to be automatically strip-searched after visits because contraband such as marijuana, cocaine and meth, as well as lighters and syringes, continue to find their way into supposedly secure areas.

By the way, Scaggs first made headlines in Colorado Springs circa May 2018, when he was caught on camera breaking into cars.

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