Lifted restrictions, policy violations may have aided teen’s escape from Lookout Mountain Youth Services

GOLDEN, Colo. — Special restrictions on the teen who escaped from the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center in Golden early Tuesday morning were removed less than a day before he escaped, and possible policy violations could have contributed to his successful escape.

Quinn Scaggs, 17, is considered a violent offender, according to a news release from the Colorado Department of Human Services.  According to court records, he faces charges for allegedly assaulting staff and spitting blood on a guard during a past incident at the youth services center.

He escaped through his window, and used bed sheets tied together to climb over the fence around the complex.

An email from his social worker sent Friday to the center's staff said "I have been notified by staff and unit managers that Quinn Scaggs is threatening to assault me...A safety plan was created. If you are working on West please keep the back door that leads to my office closed at all times,...***Quinn should not be allowed back in this office area at all."

Another email read, "Movements - youth needs to be next to a staff during line movements, shall wear cuffs and flip flops. The cuffs shall be connected  in front."

Scaggs was one of several boys placed on safety plans for throwing rocks at windows, but Monday the same social worker emailed the campus and said it would "be appropriate to take them off their safety plans."

Monday night a check showed him in his room, but at 12:21 a.m. Tuesday, he was reported missing, and the window to his room was removed.

Staff members told FOX31 Problem Solvers Scaggs probably had a car waiting for him, although Anders Jacobson, the director of the Colorado Division of Youth Services, said yesterday there was no evidence of a motor vehicle on the grounds. Sources also told FOX31 surveillance video shows Scaggs making a phone call at 10:30 p.m. Monday before his escape, which could be a policy violation because sources told FOX31 he was supposed to be in his room by 9 p.m.

Scaggs is described as 6'2", 160 lbs. with blond hair and blue eyes, and a tattoo above his right eyebrow that says "Loyalty." If you see Scaggs, call 911.

The Golden Police Department, Jefferson County Sheriff's Office and Boulder Police Department have been searching for Scaggs since his escape.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers have reported on a variety of issues at the center this year, including an incident in May when two male sex offenders with gang affiliations escaped and were caught a day later, as well as a riot, a death threat and an employee who was charged with possessing child porn.

Colorado Department of Human Services Executive Director Michelle Barnes said in a statement changes are needed at the Lookout Mountain Youth Services Center.

"Last night’s escape is frustrating, however, I am confident in the leadership in the Department of Youth Services that we are going to be successful in turning Lookout Mountain into the quality program that it can be," Barnes said. "I am thankful for the support of the Golden Police Department, and want to assure the citizens of Golden that the safety of the community, the youth and the staff is my top priority."

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis also issued a statement through a spokesperson, saying public safety is the state's focus.

“Public safety is our foremost concern and we are doing everything we can to support the Department of Human Services and local law enforcement to bring this unfortunate event to a close," he said.

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