Louisiana senators approve Kenneth Loftin’s controversial appointment as juvenile justice chairman

BATON ROUGE – Louisiana senators on Monday approved Kenneth Loftin for the top spot in the Office of Juvenile Justice, despite concerns about the way he led the Ware Youth Center in northern Louisiana.

Loftin had said allegations that Ware staffers sexually abused children or engaged in psychological torture were “outright lies.” The New York Times published a lengthy article in 2022 detailing a series of allegations of abuse and neglect.

Senate President Pro Tem Regina Barrow asked questions about Loftin’s nomination last month. She said Loftin should have been aware of the allegations made during his two terms at the Coushatta facility.

From 1983 to 2015 and from 2021 to 2022 – the years Loftin was in charge – there were 42 allegations of sexual abuse by staff members, according to the Times. Loftin said the youths “made it up.”