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Posted at 1:11 PM ET, 02/ 7/2011

O'Malley taps Va. official to lead Juvenile Services

By Aaron C. Davis

Sam Abed - DJS.jpgMaryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has tapped a Virginia corrections official to lead the state's embattled Department of Juvenile Services.

Sam Abed has served as the No. 2 at Virginia's department of juvenile services for nearly five years. He takes over after four years of mixed results under former Secretary Donald DeVore, who stepped down in November.

O'Malley has touted a drop in the rate of juvenile homicides in Maryland since he took office, but the state's juvenile facilities have remained mired in controversy.

Abed's appointment comes less than two weeks before the anniversary of the worst violence at a juvenile facility during O'Malley's first term. Last February, authorities believe a then-13-year-old boy killed a teacher at Prince George's Cheltenham Youth Facility when the boy was left unattended by staff members.

Last year, lawmakers also began debating the closure of the Laurel area's Thomas J.S. Waxter Center for girls, saying the facility was too old and outdated to be suitable place for rehabilitation.

After his November reelection and DeVore's departure, O'Malley promised a nationwide search for a new secretary. On Monday, Abed appeared in Baltimore and promised to make the department more effective.

Several Maryland Republican lawmakers, however, questioned whether Abed has the necessary experience to turn the troubled department around.

By Aaron C. Davis  | February 7, 2011; 1:11 PM ET
Categories:  Aaron C. Davis  
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