VIRGINIA

Clint Amaya, teen loses arm doing community service

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The ABC7 I-team is digging deeper into what allegedly went wrong on a Culpeper County farm. Seventeen-year-old Clint Amaya's family says the teen was turning his life around after a recent scrap with the law. He'd started a new school, his grades and attitude were improving, but he still had court ordered community service to finish. It was while doing that community service his life changed forever.

Seventeen-year-old Clint Amaya was working with an auger at the Eagle Hill Horse Rescue Farm in Culpeper last month building fences when his glove got caught in the machinery.

It was his fourth day of court ordered community service as part of a juvenile conviction for possessing stolen goods. He'd spent all his time at the farm working on fences.

“It happened so fast my arm got stuck there and it got ripped,” explained Clint Amaya. “It was gone.”

The farm's owner, Annie Delp says she's devastated by what she calls 'a hideous accident' but insisted safety instructions were given before the work began.

Amaya was sent to the farm after the state referred him to the Rappahannock Area Office on Youth in Fredericksburg. It's a non-profit organization that assigns juveniles to community service projects. The Office on Youth had only been working with the farm since November, sending fewer than a dozen teens to Eagle Hill. Both the farm and Office on Youth say they'd never before had a serious injury.

“They didn't tell me your son will work with some machines,” said Claudia Valladres, Clint’s mother. “They never told me that, never.”

“We were going to feed the horses, clean the horses,” said Clint. “But when I got there everything changed.”

ABC7 News obtained a copy of the waiver Delp says Amaya's family brought to Eagle Hill from the Office on Youth. It makes no mention of constructing or repairing fences and appears to be an out of date form. The current waiver -updated last summer - includes fence building.

Virginia's Department of Juvenile Justice tells ABC7: "Our thoughts are with this youth and his family. As you can imagine, a detailed review is being conducted to find out exactly what occurred."

Budget cuts a decade ago reduced the agency's funding and with it their oversight. Kids like Clint are ordered by the state to perform community service, but that raises the question of who from Virginia is monitoring community service programs? The Department of Juvenile Justice says they don't have regulatory authority to do that. And best we can tell, no one else is watching either.

For Clint, it’s going to be a long road. He'll be recovering for 11 weeks at home, then months of physical therapy and perhaps a prosthetic.

"I know he's trying to be strong for us, for me,” said Valladres, Clint’s mother. “I know he's in a lot of pain.”

“People see my arm and laugh,” said Clint. “That's what I'm afraid of.”

The Horse Rescue says juveniles will no longer work around machinery. The Office on Youth has stopped sending teens to the farm pending its internal investigation. And the State Department of Juvenile Justice says part of its review is obtaining more information about the kinds of community service programs juveniles participate in.

Amaya's family has hired a lawyer.

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