Canadian Co. Officials Respond To Allegations Of Misconduct At Juvenile Center

Tuesday, November 5th 2019, 8:42 am
By: Grant Hermes

Canadian County officials are breaking their silence about allegations of misconduct made against the director of an El Reno juvenile detention.

In a Facebook post on the Center's official page, an unnamed author said they're taking allegations against Director Dan Kern seriously.

“Because this involves personnel issues, we cannot disclose information about the particulars of these allegations,” the post reads.

Early last week, nearly a half dozen sources told News 9 Kern cursed and used sexual language around and about students. Those same sources asked to remain anonymous, afraid of being harassed or retaliated against.

The post appeared to be in response to those sources coming forward and News 9’s stories. It says county officials were "not notified" of the allegations and an investigation into Kern had been "delayed by the withholding of information."

But according to one of the sources, Canadian County Judge Bob Hughey, who oversees the center, was notified in a typed and signed letter. The post does not go into detail about what kind of information had been withheld.

There are also new details about Kern's past.  According to the sources and a 2012 Department of Justice investigation code named Mississippi Hustle, Kern served as deputy warden of the Walnut Grove juvenile facility in Mississippi, where investigators found wide spread use of excessive force, indifference to harm and suicide risks and "sexual misconduct that was among the worst that [investigators had] seen in any facility anywhere in the nation." The center was shut down several years later.

News 9 has not been able to independently confirm Kern worked at Walnut Grove, although online records show Kern living in the area at the time and in other states where Kern is known to have worked.

County officials say the County Human Resources Manager NaCole Majors will be conducting the investigation at the center. The process in this investigation differs from the investigation into harassment allegations made against the previous co-director. In that case, the county hired a Tulsa-based investigative firm to look into the allegations. The co-director was later fired from his position, although was never sued by the woman making the allegation after an EEOC investigation.

Repeated attempts to reach Kern for comment have gone unanswered.