Axios Youth Community in Green Mountain Falls is "suspending operations indefinitely" following the arrest of an ex-employee accused of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl in its residential treatment program.
In a short press release, Axios said it told the child placement agencies it works with that it will be "scaling down our operations" as of Friday, but did not specify what that means. The interim CEO referred questions to president Tom Avramis, who is out of town and did not return phone calls.
But Jennifer Brown, spokeswoman for the El Paso County Department of Human Services, said Axios told the agency it was "suspending operations indefinitely."
"Axios has told us we need to find somewhere else for our children living there," Brown said in an e-mail. "As of yesterday we had seven youths there. They will all be removed and placed somewhere else by Friday."
The facility's problems began in October, when a supervisor reported to Green Mountain Falls police that program director Michael Broadnax was acting inappropriately with the female residents. A few months later, police interviewed the 13-year-old girl, who said Broadnax had intercourse and performed oral sex on her in the back of his car. The El Paso County Sheriff's Office got involved with the investigation in February, and Broadnax was arrested on suspicion of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust last week.
Axios also ended its girls program shortly after the investigation began, but in its press release Wednesday, the board said it needed to scale down the program "in order to retool and defend the agency against certain unfounded accusations."
It wasn't clear from the press release whether the word "accusations" refers to the allegations against Broadnax, or a comment in the affidavit from a supervisor, claiming that "mangement was trying to cover up the alleged sexual assault."
Axios said in the press release that it is cooperating with the investigation, and expressed its "heartfelt sympathies to the men, women and youth who have been affected by this unfortunate matter."
Axios, formerly known as The Children's Ark, provides treatment for children with mental health, social, behavioral, and drug and alcohol problems.