The state of Vermont has agreed to a $4.5 million settlement with plaintiffs who say they were abused as children while at the now-closed Woodside Juvenile Rehabilitation Center in Essex and another facility in Middlesex, their attorney said Wednesday.

The settlement was reached in December after a mediation session with the state, but the final details of the agreement were not reached until earlier this week, attorney Brooks McArthur said.

“The state is not acknowledging any wrongdoing, obviously, like in every civil case, but they’re willing to resolve it for $4.5 million,” McArthur said.

“I think it’s a recognition that they were treated so poorly while they were there,” he said of the four female and three male plaintiffs, who were identified in the lawsuit by their initials. “I mean, it was it was shocking.”

One of the female plaintiffs died of a drug overdose shortly before the lawsuit was filed. Her interests were represented by her estate.

A spokesman for Republican Gov. Phil Scott said Wednesday that Scott thinks the settlement is reasonable and appreciates the work of all the parties.

“We hope that the settlement helps the plaintiffs move forward and build productive futures,” spokesman Jason Maulucci said.

The settlement was first reported by the Vermont news website

The federal lawsuit was originally filed in December 2021 against 22 Vermont Department for Children and Families employees, including its former commissioner and Woodside staff. It alleges that the abuse occurred regularly between 2016 and 2020.

According to the lawsuit, vulnerable children, some of whom had been physically, mentally, and or sexually abused by caregivers before they were taken into state custody and sent to Woodside, were regularly physically assaulted and were sometimes stripped. They were often confined to isolation cells for days, weeks or even months, it alleged.

Complaints about misconduct were investigated and state officials were informed that the tactics violated state regulations, but the abuse and isolation continued through August of 2019, when a federal court injunction ordered it to stop.

The Woodside facility closed in 2020. Since then, the state has struggled with what to do with juveniles who are misbehaving.