By Shereen Siewert | Wausau Pilot & Review

A corrections officer at the Marathon County Juvenile Detention Center suffered significant injuries in June after an inmate punched her in the face and continued to beat her after she fell to the ground.

Wausau Pilot & Review learned of the June 21 assault this week and submitted an open records request for reports and videos connected to the attack. Marathon County Sheriff’s officials denied the video request on juvenile privacy grounds, but responded with redacted documents that reveal how the incident unfolded.

According to the officer’s report, a corrections officer entered the male juvenile pod to instruct a boy to avoid sitting on tables. The boy hurled vulgarities at the officer and initially refused to comply with her instructions. After a brief exchange, the boy stood and began walking toward his cell to lockdown, as instructed, but stopped before entering his cell and punched the officer in the face, knocking her to the ground.

Police say the boy then got on top of the victim and punched her repeatedly, disarming her of her pepper spray in the process. A second corrections officer went to assist after seeing the assault on camera.

The boy later allegedly told police he continued to hit the officer because he thought she would use a taser on him and “I didn’t want to get tased,” the report reads.

The boy, who is from Wood County, is being referred on charges of aggravated battery under special circumstances. His name is not being released because he is a juvenile.

Marathon County Sheriff Chad Billeb, in an interview with Wausau Pilot & Review, said the facility was fully staffed as per state mandate at the time of the attack. The extent of the victim’s injuries has not been disclosed, but Billeb said she is now back to work.

Billeb said that while he is struggling to fill staff at the Marathon County Jail, the adult detention center, he has so far been able to keep the juvenile center at full staff. That could change, though, if the county continues to struggle to fill positions at the jail.

“If that happens, the juvenile detention center could shut down,” he said. “We don’t want to see that happen.”

An increasing number of juvenile detention centers statewide have shuttered in recent months, prompting Marathon County to juveniles from other counties. Those other counties then pay Marathon County to keep them, which results in what Billeb calls a “cost neutral” situation.

“The revenue brought in makes it cost neutral,” Billeb said.

As for the staffing situation at the adult facility, Billeb said he is looking for creative solutions to fill the need and has met with leaders in other states to find out what’s working well elsewhere.

“We need staff, and we need to keep the juvenile center open,” Billeb said. “We’re coming up with ways to do that moving forward.”