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Second suspension in Woods Services deathBy: JO CIAVAGLIA AND GEORGE MATTAR The Intelligencer
Since 1999, at least eight other adults with disabilities in the U.S. have died of hyperthermia after they were left in cars.

A Middletown residential center for people with severe disabilities launched an internal investigation Tuesday into the death of a 20-year-old client with severe autism found dead in a minivan parked near his residence hall.

In a press release Tuesday, Woods Services said its employees are "deeply pained" for the family of Bryan Nevins, who had severe autism and died of hyperthermia after he was apparently left inside the vehicle for more than five hours Saturday after an outing to Sesame Place.

"The tragic incident that occurred at Woods Services this past weekend is heart wrenching and devastating," the release said. "Our utmost concern is, and has always been, the health and welfare of our residents.

The State Department of Public Welfare, which licenses the center in Middletown, has initiated an investigation into Nevins' death, the second in less than a year involving a resident of the private residential treatment center and school for adults and children with severe physical or development disabilities.

Woods Services confirmed Tuesday that a second unidentified residential counselor who also chaperoned clients on the Sesame trip that day has been suspended.

How Nevins, originally from Long Island, N.Y., was left inside the seven-passenger van after the trip to the theme park remains unclear. Nevins, three other clients and two counselors went on the trip and returned about noon.

Police have the tickets the group purchased from Sesame Place, a parking receipt punched at 10:30 a.m. Saturday and a receipt from a nearby McDonald's at 11:30 a.m.

Police could not say if the minivan doors were locked or if Nevins was wearing a seatbelt when Woods Services employees found him Saturday evening, after a nurse noticed he was not in his room.

The van was parked in its proper space, in front of the residence hall about 200 feet from the building where Nevins and the other clients who went on the trip lived, police said.

"That remains under investigation. I am still muddling through all the evidence and trying to set up a sequence of events leading up to them finding him," Middletown Detective Jeffry Sproehnle said. No criminal charges had been filed as of Tuesday.

Woods Services holds numerous state licenses, renewed annually. One is for a child residential treatment center, the license that the state is investigating in Nevins' death, spokesman Michael Race said. That license expires in August.

The state conducted its annual inspection in May 2009 and found two minor deficiencies that were corrected before the license was renewed.

Last year a 17-year-old Woods Service resident from New York died after he was struck by at least two cars after falling from a Route 1 highway overpass after running away from the campus.

The Bucks County coroner ruled the death accidental. A state investigation concluded the boy fell, staff members were at their assigned posts and they took appropriate action when he ran away, and the building alarms worked, according to the state report.

Woods Services spokeswoman Cheryl Kauffman said supervision, including the client/supervision ratio and other responsibilities, varies depending on a client's individual care plan.

Police said after the group returned from the Sesame trip Saturday, a male counselor escorted his two clients to their residence and a second female counselor, who also has been suspended, took one client to the residence hall; she later dropped off the van keys at the end of her shift.

 Nevins, who was seated in the far rear seat of the van, was found lying on his back inside the van about 5:35 p.m., police said.

A nurse who came on duty about 4 p.m. went to Nevins' room to give him medicine. She could not locate him and called a supervisor. The person in charge of Nevins' residence hall thought he was still on the Sesame Place trip, police said.

The nurse and residence hall manager searched buildings and finally found him in the van. The engine was not running and the van has dark, tinted windows.

Police estimate Nevins had been inside the van for up to five and a half hours. They were unable to get a temperature inside the van, since staff opened all the doors and hatchback prior to police arriving on the scene.

Temperatures on Saturday reached 97 degrees with the heat index - the combination of temperature and humidity - hitting triple digits.

Hyperthermia occurs when the body produces or absorbs more heat than it can dissipate. If the core body temperature exceeds 104 degrees, the body's temperature regulation system overloads and stops working.

As a result, the body temperature climbs uncontrollably. The person stops sweating. They become disoriented, agitated. Their mental status is altered and they may hallucinate. The person eventually loses consciousness, and develops a rapid heart beat. Once the core body temperature exceeds 107 degrees, multi-organ system failure begins.

Temperatures inside a car can rise 43 degrees in an hour. On a breezy 70-degree afternoon, the temperature inside a closed car rises 19 degrees in 10 minutes.

Nevins' death was the second heat-related car death involving an adult with a disability this year, according to, a vehicle safety advocacy group.

Since 1999, at least other eight adults with disabilities in the U.S. have died of hyperthermia after they were left in vehicles according to the group. All but three cases involved unrelated caregivers.

Nevins is one of a set of triplets; he was described as very low functioning, unable to speak, but able to walk. He had lived at Woods Services for the last six years, police said. His father is a retired New York City police detective, a family friend said.

His brother, who until Saturday was also a Woods Services client, also has autism, a developmental disorder that impairs the ability to communicate and form relationships. The brother, Bill, also 20, was not on Saturday's trip.

The brothers also have a fraternal sister, who does not have autism.

Patti Erickson, of the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the Autism Society of America, expressed sympathy for the Nevins family as well as the Woods Services staff on Tuesday.

"The most important thing is the safety of autism patients, whether they are in a learning environment or having fun. We need a very thorough investigation to see what happened," she added.

By HILARY KINDSCHUH / Lincoln Journal Star | Posted: Friday, February 5, 2010 5:00 pm

A former employee of Cedars Turning Point was arrested Thursday on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old state ward.

In January, the girl told a counselor at the Child Guidance Center she had been having a sexual relationship with Robert Dirks III since December, Lincoln Police Officer Katie Flood said.

The girl said she had sexual contact with Dirks, 32, a youth care specialist, at the residential treatment center at 1430 South St. and at a Lincoln park, Flood said.

According to a probable cause affidavit, the girl said Dirks took her and another client, a 17-year-old girl, to two different Lincoln parks in December.

On one occasion, the affidavit said, the other teen witnessed sexual contact between Dirks and the girl in his car.

Dirks, who lives in Walton, was charged Thursday in Lancaster County Court with first-degree sexual abuse of a protected person.

On Friday, Cedars issued a statement saying a former employee had been arrested for alleged illegal contact with a client.

Jim Blue, president and CEO of Cedars Youth Services, declined to say whether Dirks was fired and when his employment ended.

"Since this issue was first reported, CEDARS has been actively assisting authorities and will continue to as their investigation continues," the statement said.

"Since 1947, CEDARS has placed the protection and safety of children as our number one priority. We take our responsibility seriously and are absolutely dedicated to preserving this tradition."

Because Cedars Turning Point contracts with the state, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will conduct its own investigation and take any necessary action based on its findings, said Todd Reckling, director of the Division of Children and Family Services.

Health and Human Services spokeswoman Kathie Osterman said Cedars Turning Point is licensed to care for 10 youths and is serving two state wards.

Reach Hilary Kindschuh-----

See also Sexual Allegations Prompt Review Of Man's License

Troopers charge therapist with raping 15-year-oldPublished: Friday, January 22, 2010, 11:04 PM     Updated: Saturday, January 23, 2010, 1:08 AM
Bath, NY - State police charged a socio-therapist at a residential center for adolescent boys with rape.

Police said Jessica L. Wright, 28, of 27 Taylor Street, Hornell, had sexual contact with a 15-year-old resident of Snell Farms Children Center in Bath, in Steuben County. The contact occurred from the summer of 2008 to the fall of 2009, police said.

Snell Farms "provides specialized residential treatment for adolescent boys," according to the Web site for Hillside Family of Agencies.

Wright is charged with one count each of rape in the third degree, criminal sexual act in the third degree and endangering the welfare of a child.

Wright was arrested Thursday, arraigned in Bath and released. She is forbidden to have contact with the victim.

Police said Hillside assisted with the investigation, as did the state Office of Children and Family Services and the Steuben County District Attorney's Office.

Psych Hospitals / "Men linked to scam have new treatment center"
« on: October 05, 2010, 01:38:25 AM »
Is the Rock Creek Psychiatric Hospital mentioned in this article the same as the one listed here as connected to former CEDU/Brown Schools or just another Rock Creek Psychiatric Hospital run by some shady bastards Ca$hing in?

Men linked to scam have new treatment center
July 19, 2010 6:56 PM | No Comments
Two men linked by federal prosecutors to one of the most notorious health care scams in recent local history are back in business as part owners and directors of a treatment center with a new client base: teenage girls and women suffering from eating disorders and other serious emotional problems.
Prosecutors said in court filings that the influential business partners, psychiatrist Jay Reibel and Washington attorney Roger Barth, approved bribes, fueling a massive patient-brokering scheme that harmed vulnerable and disabled nursing home residents and reportedly cost Medicare millions of dollars. There were four convictions in the case, although Reibel and Barth were not charged with any crime and strongly deny wrongdoing.
Four years after their psychiatric hospital, Rock Creek, closed amid scandal in 2002, Barth and Reibel refurbished the same wooded Lemont property and reopened as Timberline Knolls, a $995-a-day treatment facility for troubled girls and women from across the country.
The new center has been credited with saving lives but has faced a handful of patient complaints to the Illinois state attorney general about its medical and financial practices. The facility also posted treatment success claims that medical experts called misleading -- but withdrew those claims from its Web site after the Tribune raised questions. Timberline Knolls eventually provided figures showing that it shares the significant failure rate typical of these types of facilities.
Barth and Reibel declined to comment, but their attorney called the prosecutors' repeated statements about their involvement in the bribes-for-patients operation "false" and "patently unfair."
"Words are cheap," said their attorney, John Brennan. "Reibel and Barth were not involved in paying bribes to anybody. ... Those allegations have not been proven. If they were as stated, the government would have brought the case against them."
Prosecutors declined to comment. Reibel and Barth were not identified by name in the indictments of the four Rock Creek defendants. But in a subsequent court filing called a Santiago proffer that outlined the government's case, as well as in several other court motions, prosecutors identified both Barth and Reibel by name as unindicted "co-conspirators" and "targets of the government's investigation."
Brennan emphasized that the allegations against them were made not in an indictment that must pass the hurdle of a grand jury, but in other court documents that Brennan said carry less weight. He called prosecutors' statements about his clients "hollow" because Barth and Reibel never had an opportunity to challenge them in court or clear their names.
Although Barth and Reibel helped found the new center -- with Barth serving as its first president -- a group of outside investors poured millions of dollars into the facility and now holds slightly more than a 50 percent ownership stake and three of five directors' seats, records and interviews show.
James Gresham, an investor who in 2008 took control of day-to-day operations of Timberline Knolls as CEO, said he and the other investors had no idea -- until told by reporters -- that prosecutors had placed Reibel and to a lesser extent Barth at the center of the fraud and patient-brokering case.
"Timberline management and ownership is all deeply concerned and alarmed about the new information that has been revealed by the Tribune," Gresham said. "We are in the process of examining the information. ... We're taking this extremely seriously."
Gresham said he is consulting with his management team about what steps he and the investors could take next.
Barth and Reibel have a long history together, including serving in the Nixon administration. As an assistant to the Internal Revenue Service commissioner, Barth was named in a U.S. Senate investigation into the administration's alleged misuse of confidential tax records to gather information on political enemies in the Watergate scandal, although Barth testified that his activities were entirely normal and proper, according to congressional and court records and media reports. Barth went on to hold various Republican Party positions, including tax counsel to the party's national committee, while Reibel has been a top fundraiser.
Brennan described Barth as "a very bright man" and Reibel as "a very intelligent, honorable man who has been in the health care business for many years with an unblemished reputation."
But their Lemont facility came under federal investigation starting in the late 1990s as Rock Creek aggressively sought to fill beds with a steady flow of destitute patients, court records show. From 2000 through 2002, hospital administrators paid huge bribes to Dr. Roland Borrasi and his medical partners, who shuttled in scores of unwitting nursing home residents and homeless people for medically unnecessary treatments, court records show. Federal anti-kickback laws prohibit facilities from offering payments in exchange for referring Medicaid or Medicare patients.
Although former Rock Creek CEO Wendy Mamoon and operations chief Mahmood Baig "orchestrated the kickbacks that Rock Creek paid to Borrasi," prosecutors wrote, Mamoon and Baig "obtained permission and, at times, direction, to pay the illegal payments from Rock Creek's owner and Chairman, Jay Reibel, and the hospital's General Counsel, Roger Barth."
Reibel and others "agreed to pay approximately $647,204 in direct bribes to Borrasi" as well as indirect bribes made to Borrasi's medical colleagues, while Barth approved some of those illicit payments, prosecutors wrote in court documents. Prosecutors also asserted that Reibel worked with others "to conceal the bribes" by using "false time sheets ... bogus committee appointments and ... inflated job descriptions."
In one instance, Baig, who in February was sentenced to 15 months in prison for his part in the scheme, told federal agents that Mamoon called him into her office as she conferred on speakerphone with Reibel and then with Barth about a deal to pay for Borrasi's office rent and secretary in exchange for increasing patient referrals. Baig told agents that Reibel wanted Barth to OK the deal but said that "if the arrangement would bring in more patients, then he was in agreement." Prosecutors said the payments were made. Mamoon and Borrasi also were convicted.
Brennan acknowledged that Reibel and Barth oversaw payments to Borrasi but said they were "not aware of the corrupt intent and purpose of the payments" because Mamoon, Baig and others hid the scheme from Barth and Reibel.
"People Reibel trusted betrayed him," Brennan said. "Reibel as owner of that hospital was victimized by this cadre of criminals."
Rock Creek owed Medicare more than $5 million when it closed in 2002, according to a government investigative report obtained by the Tribune, although former Rock Creek CEO Robert Mansfield told investigators that the Medicare debt was actually $17 million.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services declined to comment on whether the government ever determined how much Rock Creek owed taxpayers or whether CMS tried to recover any of that money.
"CMS does not comment on ongoing investigations," said the agency's Chicago spokeswoman Elizabeth Surgener.
Even before the indictments were handed down in the Rock Creek case, Reibel and Barth had secured investors to help launch Timberline Knolls. It opened in early 2006 amid a wave of for-profit residential treatment centers established to serve the millions of women in the U.S. afflicted with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia.
As the operation has grown, so have its revenues, which increased to $11.5 million last year from $7 million in 2007. The 87-bed campus currently has a waiting list, Gresham said.
Despite taking in millions of dollars from local school districts to house, treat and educate teens sent to the facility because of their problems, Timberline Knolls has shown losses on its balance sheet. In part that's because of the roughly $1.2 million-per-year rent owed to a Barth and Reibel land company that still owns the property.
Barth and Reibel also own nearly half of the Timberline Knolls operating company and remain involved as two of the five voting board members.
But today, Gresham said, they "have no operational control of this business. I am on the ground making decisions."
-- David Jackson and Gary Marx

School staff member charged with 'sadistic' sex assaults
By Andrew Koubaridis
4:00 AM Thursday Jul 1, 2010

A former staff member at an Auckland school is standing trial on historic charges of "sadistic" sexual and physical abuse of students.
The staff member, who has name suppression, pleaded not guilty to 25 charges yesterday on the first day of his trial in the High Court at Auckland.
He worked at Waimokoia School in Bucklands Beach in the 1980s, when the Crown says the assaults occurred.
The charges include allegations he raped one young girl and abused another while forcing her to watch pornography. He is also accused of indecent attacks on a 9-year-old boy.
The residential school is now closed but used to cater for children with behavioural problems.
Crown prosecutor Tiffany Robertson told the jury the offending against the boy started in his bedroom, but spread to other places - including a windowless concrete "cell-like" structure used for time-out.
It is alleged that he "cornered" the boy in the cell, saying: "It's time to have fun".
Ms Robertson said the boy was indecently assaulted and when he fought back, the staff member "got more violent and held him down to have his way regardless".
The court heard the boy was attacked with a staple gun, a chair leg, a piece of soap in a sock, and had cigarettes burned into his skin.
The man also allegedly stapled the boy's penis to a chair leg.
The prosecutor said the offending was "repetitive and got progressively more sadistic".
She said the man told a 12-year-old girl he "really, really liked her" and touched her on the thigh.
She then went for a shower and returned to her room in her towel to find the accused sitting on her bed.
He is alleged to have forced her to perform sex acts.
Ms Robertson said the third student - another 12-year-old girl - thought the staff member was a "good guy" at first, but he is alleged to have raped her in the school sick bay.
The staff member's lawyer, Ron Mansfield, said his client's position was "a clear one, a vehement one".
"These things did not happen to these children at the school."
The accused would give evidence himself and would call witnesses.
By Andrew Koubaridis | Email Andrew ... d=10655621 Edited to include a better link ... f-children

[And another presently still retrievable article from last year while the school was open and under investigation] ... threat.php
School closure threat Friday, 04 September 2009 By JACKIE RUSSELL and MARIANNE KELLY

A history of management issues at a school for problem children is being tackled by the Government:

A SCHOOL catering for children with extreme behavioural, social, emotional and learning problems could be closed following a Ministry of Education (MoE) review.
Students at Waimokoia School in Bucklands Beach may be better managed in different environments, according to research.
The MoE is reviewing the options and seeking submissions on them.
The special school recently had three staff members charged with assaulting students – incidents which first came to the attention of the police in late 2007.
Two employees were acquitted and one will face a retrial in June 2010 after a jury failed to reach a verdict in July this year.
Another man involved with the school also faces a retrial for sexual offences dating from the 1980s.
Following these serious issues, Dennis Finn was appointed as commissioner of the school last year.

Mr Finn told the Times a range of commissioners had been appointed by the MoE to Waimokoia School over time. He became involved when serious charges were laid against some staff at the residential school, which caters for up to 44 children aged seven to 13.
These youngsters display significant problems and cannot be catered for with existing resources in their local communities.
Mr Finn says the alleged assault issues “are basically dealt with and there are a number of charges sitting with one person that is still a matter before the courts”.
The students involved had left Waimokoia School when Mr Finn was appointed, and he says the staff members charged are no longer employed at the school.
When the alleged offences took place he says there was no conflict between teaching and residential staff members.
“There may have been conflict between some individuals but there wasn’t conflict in general.”
As commissioner of Waimokoia, Mr Finn’s role is to manage the school in accordance with the appropriate processes.
He works with existing staff ensuring the school operates in a safe environment and provides the services necessary to current students.
When the Times asked Mr Finn about the possible closure of the school, he explained that the review is not the result of charges laid against staff members.  
“It might have been one of the catalysts, but it is generally about the nature of working with these students with severe behaviour difficulties.
“The closure is being considered because over time there has been research that suggests other ways students like these can be better managed. That certainly was one of the reasons the Ministry of Education called for the special review.”
He says staff members currently at the school do very well and receive ongoing training.
There are teachers at Waimokoia who are particularly interested in dealing with challenging children.
“I strongly endorse the work that is happening in that school right now.”
Residential schools such as Waimokoia have operated in New Zealand since the late 1970s and Mr Finn says there remains a need for such facilities.
He is now focusing on consultations with staff members and the school community, which includes students and parents throughout the North Island. He is collecting submissions to be forwarded to the MoE.
A spokesman for Anne Tolley, the Minister of Education, says the minister has stressed it is important to consider the longer term best interests of the children at the school.
Mrs Tolley, he says, is considering advice from the MoE following an Education Review Office (ERO) review which noted that Waimokoia has had a lengthy history of governance and management difficulties, with a commissioner in place for the past nine years.
“The minister has asked the commissioner to consult with the school community and staff. No decision on the future of the school has been made.”
In 2005, the ERO said the school should provide therapeutic rather than a custodial environment.
It reported incidences of staff placing children in a small concrete block shed with no window for time out. The commissioner, it said, should urgently review the use of timeout at the school, the consistency of its use and the kind of incidents that trigger its use.
However, the following year the ERO said the commissioner and director of the school had made progress addressing the concerns.
“They have a wider range of alternatives to consider when dealing with children and are generally taking action at much earlier stages of a potential crisis.”
Personnel changes were also identified in the 2006 report with a large mixed staff of teachers and residential workers making it difficult to provide a positive employment climate for all staff at all times.
Children from across the North Island attend Waimokoia, which was established in 1960, full-time for 40 weeks.
The Bucklands Beach property was built in 1979 and the school occupied it in 1980 when it was moved from a site in Mt Wellington.

What’s gone wrong at Waimokoia? See Monday’s Times for more on this story. Did you attend, or have you worked at, the school? Email [email protected].

Randy Lamont Scott
Shelby, Ohio
Cornell Companies
May 11, 2010 Mansfield News Journal

A youth counselor at a Shelby residential treatment center was arrested and charged with the rape of a 16-year-old, officials said Monday. Randy Lamont Scott, 35, of Mifflin Township, is incarcerated at the Richland County Jail on $500,000 bond after pleading not guilty Friday morning to a single count of rape, a first-degree felony. A spokesman for Abraxas, the Shelby youth rehab center where Scott worked, said he was placed on nonadministrative, unpaid leave last week. The child, who is not part of the Abraxas program, has received a medical exam and counseling, according to Carl Hunnell, a Children Services spokesman. "We were notified on May 5, at 5:34 p.m., on the allegations," Hunnell said. "We're working with the sheriff's department on the investigation of the victim due to the age." Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Pat Smith declined to say much about Scott, citing the ongoing investigation, but alluded to a "period of abuse." Scott was a "life skills worker" at Abraxas and was responsible for leading group sessions and supervising group activities on weekends, said Charles Seigel, a vice president for Cornell Companies, which operates Abraxas. Scott had worked at the facility for less than two years and passed a background check and drug tests, which Seigel said were routine for incoming employees. While he has not been fired, Seigel said the company likely wouldn't wait for the legal case to be resolved. "Anything that would be a felony would be pretty much automatic," Seigel said. "We'll take a look at the situation." The Shelby facility's 108-bed residential program, "incorporates an intensive group curriculum focusing on decision-making, goal-setting, self-esteem, sex education and relapse process/prevention," according to the company's website.

Fornits thread re: Abraxas staffer at another location also charged with sex crime More Staff on Child Assaults Not to be forgotten from 2009

2010 Finalist—Justice and Law Enforcement- Greg Kutz

This award will recognize a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to justice and law enforcement (including civil rights, criminal justice, counterterrorism, and fraud detection and prevention). This medal is accompanied by a $3,000 award.

Greg Kutz
Position: Managing Director, Forensic Audits and Special Investigations
Agency: U.S. Government Accountability Office
Location: Washington, D.C.

 :trophy: Achievement: Led a wide ranging investigation that prompted congressional and federal action to protect vulnerable children in residential programs and schools from neglect and physical abuse by their teachers and caregivers.  :trophy:
In Arizona, a teen with asthma and complaining of chest pains was forced by counselors at a residential boot camp to do pushups and carry cinder blocks for not having completed an assignment. The youngster subsequently died, with an autopsy finding more than 70 physical injuries.

In West Virginia, a four-year-old autistic girl with cerebral palsy was tied to a chair, badly bruised and traumatized. In Utah, a 16-year-old boy in a wilderness therapy program collapsed and died after counselors ignored signs of physical distress for three weeks, including severe weight loss, severe abdominal pain and loss of bodily functions.

These shocking and heartbreaking stories are among thousands of cases chronicled by Gregory Kutz, a Government Accountability Office (GAO) managing director, who led a nationwide investigation that documented widespread abuse, torture, neglect and death of troubled and disabled children in residential programs and in public and private schools across the United States.

Dedicated to curbing these abhorrent abuses, Kutz’ investigation has led to legislation approved by the House of Representatives and pending in the Senate that establishes new federal health and safety standards to protect teenagers in residential programs.

The probe also prompted legislation approved on March 3, 2010, by the House of Representatives, which is also pending in the Senate, designed to prevent and reduce harmful seclusion and restraint of children in all schools. In addition, the inquiry has provoked reactions from the Department of Education and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

The results of the investigation were disclosed at three dramatic hearings before the House Education and Labor Committee in 2007, 2008 and 2009. They included tales of severe beatings of children by residential program staff; the withholding of essential food, water, clothing, shelter and medical care; abusive seclusion and restraint of children with disabilities; and deceptive marketing by programs targeting vulnerable parents of troubled children.

The inquiry highlighted the lack of federal laws to protect young people in residential programs, and exposed the weak and inconsistent laws and oversight by states regarding issues of seclusion and physical restraint.

“His findings have brought attention to rampant abuses and attracted the attention of the press and Congress,” said Sally Anne Harper, GAO’s chief administrative officer. “He has taken this work personally, and saw it as his duty to look out for vulnerable children.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he was “deeply troubled” by the disclosures, and in 2009 wrote a strong letter to all state chief school officers requesting they review policies and guidelines regarding the use of restraints and seclusion in schools to ensure every student is safe and protected.

The FTC responded with a guide for parents to use before enrolling their children in residential troubled teen programs. The FTC warned that these programs, such as those for drug and alcohol treatment, confidence building, military-style boot camps and psychological counseling, are not regulated by the federal government, and many are not subject to state licensing or monitoring.

As father to a five-year-old girl, Kutz said he found the use of seclusion and restraint of young, developmentally challenged children especially revolting.
“Doing this kind of work—speaking to parents of children who died in these facilities and reviewing autopsy reports—is never an easy task, but it’s all the more heartbreaking when the surviving victims are some of the most vulnerable members of our society who are unable to speak for themselves,” he said.

The findings resulted from extensive outreach to state and local law enforcement authorities, parents, attorneys and advocacy groups across the country to document cases going back almost two decades.

There were undercover calls to residential programs where GAO investigators, including Kutz, posed as vulnerable parents looking for programs to help their troubled children. The GAO also conducted extensive analysis of federal and state regulations and court records.

Harper of the GAO said the child abuse investigation exemplifies the type of work Kutz has done throughout his career. “He personally conducts investigations which shine a light on places that are dark,” Harper said.

child welfare watch vol. 18 Where the Sick Get Sicker: As the juvenile correctional centers empty, the mentally ill remain by Clara Hemphill

Christopher, a slight 15-year-old boy with a long history of psychiatric illness, spent three months in a state juvenile correctional facility in upstate New York for pestering a girl and stealing a cell-phone. His mental health, always precarious, deteriorated further while he was incarcerated at the Highland Residential Center near Poughkeepsie, one of 22 state juvenile justice facilities that house nearly 1,000 boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 18. He punched walls with his fists and tried to strangle himself with his pajamas, his mother says. On one occasion, a staff member attempting to break up a fight slammed Christopher's head against a desk so hard that his face bled profusely. "I was in a pool of blood," he says. "It seemed like hell."

More than half of the children admitted to the juvenile correctional centers run by the state Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) suffer from mental illness, according to the agency's own statistics. Independent experts put the number even higher. Some 72 percent of males and 87 percent of females in secure facilities nationwide have at least one mental health disorder, according to The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, part of the U.S. Department of Justice. Children with serious mental illness may wind up in juvenile lock-ups—even if the charges against them are relatively minor—because there are so few alternatives for children who need psychiatric care, advocates say.

"The longer they stay with us, the more mental health problems they have.""They end up there because there are so few other other options," says Leslie Abbey, executive director of the Juvenile Justice Initiative, an alternative-to-incarceration program managed by the New York City Administration for Children's Services.

Psychiatric care for incarcerated youth in New York State is so deficient that the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice has threatened a lawsuit seeking a federal takeover of four juvenile facilities unless the state takes prompt action both to improve the quality of services and to transfer to more appropriate settings any children who need more intensive care than the facilities can provide. The Justice Department gave Governor David Paterson until October to respond to its finding that conditions in four prisons violated children's constitutional rights to protection from harm. Paterson's initial reply has not been made public, but it's clear the state is under enormous pressure to find a solution to the intractable problem of caring for children like Christopher.

The state's juvenile lock-ups house children convicted of serious crimes (in secure facilities) as well as those accused of less serious misbehavior (in limited-secure or non-secure facilities). Juvenile offenders, who make up about 20 percent of the population, are 14- and 15-year-olds accused of serious crimes such as murder, robbery and arson, as well as 13-year-olds accused of murder. They are tried and sentenced in adult courts. Juvenile delinquents, who make up 80 percent of the population, are children under the age of 16 who are charged with misbehavior ranging from graffiti and shoplifting to assault and third degree robbery—that is, taking property by force but without a weapon.

Juvenile delinquents are adjudicated by the city's Family Courts. Family Court judges may place juvenile delinquents in juvenile lock-ups run by OCFS or in residential centers run by nonprofit agencies such as Children's Village, Lincoln Hall and Graham Windham. Or, they may order them to take part in one of several alternative programs that often allow young people to remain living at home, in their own community.

Over the past decade, the city and state have cut in half the number of children under 16 years of age who are sent to juvenile correctional facilities, relying instead on a range of these "alternative-to-placement" programs that offer close supervision and guidance to juvenile delinquents. But these
programs are generally only open to young people who have a parent or other responsible adult who is able to take an active role in their therapy and treatment. Christopher's mother, who acknowledges she once had a drug problem and has been hospitalized for psychiatric problems herself, visits him from time to time but is not a reliable source of support.

Inpatient psychiatric care is scarce: although Christopher was approved for admission to a community-based psychiatric facility soon after he was arrested, he had to wait months for a bed to become available. So Christopher wound up in a correctional center, even though children accused of similar misbehavior are often released or offered alternatives to placement."The biggest difference between the adult [criminal courts] and the children's [Family Court] system is that in the adult system, your sentence is contingent on the severity of your crime," says Tamara Steckler, attorney-in-charge of the juvenile rights practice of the Legal Aid Society. "In the juvenile system, it's contingent on the social supports you have."

Christopher says he had trouble following the rules at the Highland Residential Center, and was punished frequently for breaking them. "I didn't know how to make my bed the Highland way," Christopher recalled as he sat on his bed at the August Aichhorn Center for Residential Care, a psychiatric facility in Harlem where he was transferred in July. "They'd yell at me if my bed was wrinkled and now I'm late for breakfast, so I get another punishment, and then I'm late for school and I get in trouble again."

In the prison school, he says, another child hit him, and when he started to hit him back a staffer grabbed both boys and slammed them down on the floor to restrain them. As they fell, Christopher banged his head on the desk, causing a cut so deep he had to go to the emergency room at a nearby hospital for stitches. On another occasion, he says, he got into an argument over which channel to watch on television; again, a staffer restrained him by forcing him to the floor and bending his arm behind his back. When Christopher tried to squirm, his face rubbed against the carpet. "I got a rug burn on my face," he says.
"You have a combustible mix of tired workers and mentally unstable kids."
Christopher has had mood swings and aggressive outbursts since he was a toddler, according to his mother, who lives in East Harlem. He was first sent to a residential facility in Westchester County for children with emotional problems when he was 9 years old. When he was 14, he was released from residential care and placed with a foster family in the Bronx. But he couldn't adjust to life outside an institution. "He was innocent. He didn't know how to cross the street," says his mother, adding that he was injured slightly when he was hit by a car. He also got into trouble with the law. He was arrested twice in the first three weeks after he moved in with the foster family, once for "harassment" of a girl—following her around—and a second time for stealing a cell phone, according to the Legal Aid Society, which represented him.

Christopher was approved for placement in a state in-patient psychiatric facility, called a Residential Treatment Facility (RTF), but, because there were no available beds, he was placed on a waiting list. In the meantime, he was sent to the mental health unit of a juvenile correctional center in mid-April, despite protests from his attorney, says Nancy Rosenbloom, director of the juvenile rights practice of the Legal Aid Society.
In mid-July, a space opened up at Aichhorn, an RTF on Manhattan's Upper West Side that houses 32 young people, and the only such facility in New York City. Christopher was finally transferred. Dr. Michael Pawel, executive director of Aichhorn, says Christopher still lashes out at people when he feels he's being picked on. But with three highly-trained staff members on duty for every eight residents, Aichhorn is equipped to calm Christopher and control his outbursts. "It takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of staff," says Pawel. OCFS, the state agency that runs the children's prisons, has long struggled to care for mentally ill residents sent to them by the courts. "We're basically a mental health system without mental health services," says an OCFS employee who asked not to be identified. "This is a system that re-traumatizes the children. The longer they stay with us, the more mental
health problems they have."

The federal investigation, made public in August, found widespread abuse of children by staff in four of the state's juvenile facilities: Lansing Residential Center, Louis Gossett Jr. Residential Center (both near Ithaca), Tryon Residential Center and Tryon Girls Center (both northwest of Schenectady). The investigation found that staff members regularly used excessive force to restrain children, resulting in broken teeth, broken bones and concussions. In addition, the Justice Department found the facilities failed to provide adequate mental health care and treatment for seriously disturbed residents. For example, the staff was "at a loss" for how to address the problems of a girl who urinated and defecated on the floor of her room, refused medication, and stayed in her pajamas all day. She was isolated in a "cottage" without other girls for three months. A boy who had an upsetting phone call from his family hurt himself repeatedly by rubbing a scratch on his finger raw. The staff didn't know how to stop him—so they handcuffed him and took him to an emergency room.

Psychiatric evaluations were incomplete, and staff apparently failed to review children's previous medical records, the report found. Children were given powerful psychotropic medications without proper monitoring to see if they were effective or if they were causing side effects. One boy was taking six psychotropic medications, but federal investigators could find no rationale for the prescriptions. Even after he banged his head against the wall, there was no change in the prescriptions, the investigation found.

Unions representing the workers at the state prisons acknowledge that abuses by staff occur, but say they are the result of understaffing and poor training. Supervising aggressive, often violent youth is a stressful job. Staffers are frequently assaulted by young people in their care, the unions say. Staffers may overreact to children's outbursts because of their own trauma experienced on the job, says Jonathan Rosen, director of health and safety for the Public Employees Federation, the union that represents social workers, counselors, teachers and other professional staff at the OCFS facilities.
"Both the youth and the staff have been traumatized," says Rosen. "People who have been traumatized have an increased reaction to normal stimulus. It's a fight or flight response. So you have an increased startle effect among the staff combined with an increased startle effect of the youth. Wow! It's not geared toward de-escalating the situation."

The situation is exacerbated by what the unions describe as chronic understaffing. They say many staff members are forced to work 16-hour shifts. Vacancies are not filled because of a hiring freeze, the unions say, and turnover is high. "People don't want to work there, and even when you do get people they don't stay," says Mark Davis, a youth aide (whose function is similar to a prison guard in an adult prison) at Brookwood Residential Center, a secure facility for boys near Albany. Davis, CSEA chair of the labor management committee for OCFS, says he is required to work 16-hour days at least three days a week. Although he says he loves the kids and the pay is good—with overtime, some aides make $80,000 to $90,000 a year—the hours are grueling. Up at 4:15 a.m., he leaves his home at 5:30 a.m. to arrive at work at 6:30 a.m.
When he works two shifts, he leaves at 10:30 p.m. and is home by midnight. "You don't really sleep, you keep looking at the clock knowing you have to get up in four hours."

Davis, who has worked in OCFS facilities for two decades, says he has seen a change in the kind of kids who have been incarcerated. "When I started, you were dealing with street thugs," he says. "It used to be 10 or 20 percent of the population had mental illness. Now it's 80 to 90 percent. You're dealing with kids who just don't understand directions. And the vast majority of people there just don't know how to deal with kids with mental health issues. You have a combustible mix of tired workers and mentally unstable kids."

Gladys Carrion, state commissioner of children and family services, has struggled to improve conditions in the juvenile correctional system in a time of severe budget restraints. Formerly a lawyer for Bronx Legal Services and executive director of a foster care agency for pregnant and parenting teens,
Carrion was named commissioner of OCFS soon after Eliot Spitzer became governor in January 2007. She moved quickly to hire an experienced administrator as her deputy commissioner: Joyce Burrell, former president of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators who had run juvenile justice systems in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia. Carrion also hired Lois Shapiro, a psychologist from the state Office of Mental Health, to serve as the agency's director of behavioral health services, and nearly tripled the number of social workers and clinical psychologists on staff, increasing the number of mental health professionals from about 20 to nearly 60.

Carrion has also moved aggressively to close empty or nearly empty facilities and to reduce the size of those that remain, reflecting the fact that the number of children admitted to OCFS facilities declined from 1,938 in 2001 to 813 in 2008. She has also sought to transform the culture of the juvenile prisons from a correctional model of "custody and control" to one based on a therapeutic model that assumes juvenile delinquents and juvenile offenders need treatment rather than punishment.

Despite these moves, care for the mentally ill remains woefully inadequate, advocates say. For example, OCFS acknowledges there is not a single psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse on the staff of OCFS. Psychologists may offer psychotherapy, but only psychiatrists may prescribe and adjust the powerful psychotropic medications that some severely mentally ill children need.

OCFS has a contract with the state Office of Mental Health to provide "mobile mental health teams" of psychiatrists and other clinicians who prescribe medication and offer individual therapy to the severely ill children who are assigned to seven small, specialized, 10-bed "mental health units" within the OCFS facilities. However, these psychiatrists and clinicians are on the staff of nearby hospitals and are typically available to OCFS only four or five hours a week, OCFS sources say.

Psychiatric care is even more limited for the hundreds of children with mental health diagnoses who are not assigned to these seven mental health units. For example, a 2006 report by the state inspector general found that a consulting psychiatrist at the Gossett facility allocated just 90 minutes per week to manage 34 residents taking psychiatric medications.

All children entering OCFS facilities are evaluated for mental illness (as well as medical issues) at "reception centers" such as Pyramid in the Bronx, where Christopher spent two weeks. Once the evaluation is completed and a treatment plan is drawn up, a child is transferred to one of the state's juvenile justice facilities, most of which are in rural areas upstate. However, staff at the facilities often fail to follow treatment plans, sometimes because records are lost, says Rosenbloom of the Legal Aid Society.

There is also poor coordination between the professionals charged with treating children and the front-line workers who are with the children throughout the day. "There has been a huge issue with turnover of mental health staff at Lansing because they feel so unwanted by the line staff," says Mishi Faruqee, director of the Youth Justice Program at Children's
Defense Fund-New York.

Children who are not assigned to mental health units receive little in the way of therapy, Rosenbloom says. Rather than individual psychotherapy by trained psychologists, children tend to receive group counseling offered by youth development aides (who typically have a high school diploma) or youth counselors (who have a bachelor's degree), she explains. These counselors have no specialized mental health training.

Carrion declined to be interviewed for this article, citing the sensitivity of negotiations with the Justice Department. However, other state officials acknowledge that OCFS has difficulty recruiting professional staff, particularly in facilities in rural areas. There is a national shortage of child psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses; finding professionals willing to work in remote areas of the state is particularly difficult, they say.

Carrion has sought to transform the culture of OCFS by adopting a therapeutic design called "The Sanctuary Model,"which is used by some psychiatric facilities and congregate care foster care agencies. She contracted with the Andrus Children's Center in Yonkers, New York, to train staff members and the young people in their care. The Sanctuary methods, which recognize that trauma is often at the root of a child's bad behavior, work to de-escalate conflicts, says Dr. Joseph Benemati of Andrus.

Some of the juvenile correctional centers have embraced the new training: The Annsville Residential Center in Taberg, New York, received a prize from the Juvenile Justice Trainers Association in October 2008 for its success in training staff. Benemati, who says the training may take up to three years, says staff morale has improved and violence has decreased at Annsville.

But at other facilities, including the troubled Tryon center cited by the Department of Justice investigation, training has been less successful. In some cases, advocates say, the staff are simply resistant to change. In other cases, the staffers say they are open to change but don't have the resources to carry out the reforms effectively. For example, if a child becomes agitated when asked to leave his room and go to school, "the Sanctuary model says leave the kid behind with one or two staffers to see him through the crisis," says Davis, the youth aide at Brookwood. But, he says, there aren't enough adults on duty to stay behind with one child and still supervise the rest of the group. "If you took any facility and staffed it appropriately, Sanctuary would work," he says.
On the night shift in so called "limited secure" facilities, a youth development aide may be alone supervising nine to 12 residents; two aides might supervise 18 to 20 residents, according to Mary Rubilotta, deputy director for contract administration for the CSEA, the union representing the youth aides. (As a comparison, an in-patient psychiatric facility like Aichhorn has three staffers for eight residents.)
Advocates for juvenile justice reform say better training and smaller facilities will help ameliorate some of the dangerous conditions. Faruqee, of the Children's Defense Fund, says there have already been improvements. For example, while some facilities report a large number of "restraints" each month, others report almost none.

Annie Salsich, director of the Center for Youth Justice at the Vera Institute of Justice, is optimistic that a governor's task force appointed in September 2008 will make useful recommendations in its report, scheduled for release by the end of 2009. She and others point to the improvement in the conditions of confinement in the Missouri juvenile justice system, which is held up as a national model for reform. In Missouri, juveniles are housed in small, cottage-like dormitories, rather than large facilities. The Task Force on Transforming New York's Juvenile Justice System will report on both the conditions in the prison and on alternatives to placement.

Sylvia Rowlands, a clinical psychologist who worked for many years at the Youth Leadership Academy, a juvenile lock-up for girls in South Kortright, New York, north of the Catskills, cautions that reformers face an uphill battle—in part because the skills kids need to get along in prison run counter to the skills they need to get along in a community.

"The problem is what folks are being asked to do is impossible," says Rowlands, who is now director of Blue Sky, an alternative-to-placement program in New York City. "In prison, you throw a bunch of kids who have anti-social behavior together. To create a positive peer culture [in that setting] is an impossible job.

"Most of the folks on the ground are not trained psychologists, they are not trained social workers. The folks who do the day-to-day care do not have advanced degrees, they have high schools diplomas."
Much of the counseling revolves around group therapy to get kids to better conform to the institution's rules, rather than individual therapy designed to help them overcome trauma, and the skills they develop don't translate into more sociable behavior when they leave, she says.
"It's hard to do work on how to live better in the community when the community is three hundred miles away," she says.

Rowlands left her OCFS career in 2003 to work with New York Foundling on creating Blue Sky, one of the few alternative-to-placement programs in the city that treats children with mental illness. The Blue Sky model is designed to work with children as well as their families—and it is unusual in that it also works with parents and caregivers who have mental illness themselves. Together with the city's Administration for Children's Services, Rowlands has applied for a $1.3 million grant from the Robin Hood Foundation to expand the program, which now serves 130 children in the Bronx and Manhattan. Their goal is to serve children in all five boroughs. About 60 children in Brooklyn and Queens are rejected from alternative-to-placement programs each year solely because of mental illness, so a larger Blue Sky program could have an immediate impact on their lives and reduce the number of children with mental illness living in the upstate OCFS centers.

"The answer is keeping kids connected to their families," Rowlands says. "Do everything up front before you place them."

Feed Your Head / "Join My Cult"
« on: June 14, 2010, 01:11:08 AM »
Join my cult is a site about a film called My Cult.
MY CULT is a film about my childhood in an alternative community called Synanon that developed out of a drug rehabilitation program in the 1960’s and, according to many became a violent and manipulative cult in the mid 1970’s.
Despite its reputation, I remember my childhood in Synanon fondly and have always considered it to have been a happy one. For me it was not a cult, but the community I grew up in: as different as it might have been to the world in which I live today, as strange as much of it might seem to the man I am now, when I was a child, it provided me with those elements of childhood that rendered mine a happy one.
Regardless of how I perceived Synanon, there is a darker dimension to this story that cannot be ignored. Synanon had many practices that were cult-like and the organization during its lowest moments engaged in activities that ranged from suspect and manipulative to downright violent and illegal. I would have liked nothing more than to tell the story of my idyllic childhood in the hills of Northern California but that simply is not possible without facing the uglier truths that surrounded it. To do otherwise would only betray and belittle what I loved most about Synanon by implying that its value was dependant on the suppression and equivocation of its darker side.
Luckily, my childhood home itself provides the means of bridging the contradictions it presents. If it failed in its practices, many of its principles remain sound, and to this day I still hold faith in many of them them. Synanon’s particular emphasis on truth, for instance, is specifically appropriate to the subject of this film, and will serve as its guiding principle.
It is a conception in which the expression of truth has value in itself - that merely telling the truth about a thing, looking at it squarely and in the full light of day, stripping it of the guilt and shame that feeds off and feeds the need for secrecy you can redeem what would otherwise be condemned to the shadows of the guilty conscience, forever dissembled, defended, and denied.
It was, I believe one of the principle failings of the community, that in the end it refused, or was unable to examine itself with the same harsh honesty it demanded of its members. I can see no reason why, from this distance, we cannot look back upon Synanon with the same spirit of honest examination on which we so prided ourselves back then.
MY CULT will take this principle of truth as its own - to look as honestly as possible on its subject, but without passing judgement; to look on both the good and bad of it, "for better or for worse as was its lot" in an attempt to bring Synanon to conform to the valid principle at its centre, no matter the corruption of its practice.
I wonder if this was ever released. I couldn’t find any further information. The firsthand account of a former child of Synanon would be interesting.
*See link for a handful of pics.

Open Free for All / Tell us about the Third Nail
« on: June 09, 2010, 05:41:53 PM »
From the Chat Box:
(2009.12.27 - 19:20:36) Inculcated: Danny B are you still too shy to speak of when/where you were you in Daytop?
(2009.12.27 - 19:20:44) Danny_Bennison: No

 (2009.12.27 - 19:21:31) Inculcated: Okay…
(2009.12.27 - 19:21:33) Danny_Bennison: I was just 12 yrs old and it was in White Plains N.Y

[Note:Daytop White Plains New York=Wrong answer. In 1971,Millbrook was the 1st and only residential facility for adolescents.]

(2009.12.27 - 19:21:47) Inculcated: what year?
(2009.12.27 - 19:21:52) Danny_Bennison: Can you believe that
(2009.12.27 - 19:22:05) Danny_Bennison: 1971
[Note: Nope]
(2009.12.27 - 19:22:16) Inculcated: Which house were you at?
(2009.12.27 - 19:22:48) Danny_Bennison: I was only there maybe 2 mons.
(2009.12.27 - 19:23:03) Danny_Bennison: I still trying to find the info
[Note: Still lookin’?]
Recently, Bennison Posted an answer to Anne Bonny claiming to have been at Daytop in 1973 This is in the midst of one of those posts where he gets really vile.

A couple of posts down on that page there’s a quote where Bennison also says 1971 for Daytop and Marathon in 1973 and Élan 1975

Today,Bennison recalls: “Women while I was at Daytop, Marathon, Elan and The Third Nail did not get literal haircuts”

He's right... which is so weird because during his alleged brief stay as a twelve year old in an adult facility (whether 1971 or 1973) there were no women there.

Good guess Bennison. They did not, but you shouldn’t know that since Daytop didn’t cohabitate males and females until 1975. In the Monsignor words (p.73/74)”It took us a full decade to realize that women were not getting their fair share of Daytop treatment”  “On the outside all our residents will have to live together harmoniously with both women and men . There’s no reason not to begin teaching those lessons in treatment.” ”Since 1975 women have been fully integrated into the regular treatment”
Even though you’re totally full of it about Daytop,you're here all day every day unwittingly serving as an(albeit tragically idiotic) ever present reminder. Your endless lies, deflections and threats and vulgarities all imbued with glaring ignorance and paternalistic condescensions are a reminder to everyone exactly what program mentality was like.

When you're not derailing threads, threatening other posters or directing sexualized aggression toward them,then go on tell us all about The Third Nail.

News Items / Staff charged with sexual assault at Three Rivers Center
« on: June 06, 2010, 03:28:13 PM »
News - Crime & Courts
Thursday, Jun. 03, 2010
Man arrested in assault of girl at treatment center
Lexington County deputies on Thursday charged a 47-year-old man with sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl while the girl was a patient at a residential treatment center near West Columbia.
Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said Frederick Gibbs, of 1316 Chevis St. in Columbia, is charged with second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a child under the age of 16.
Metts said that at about 4 a.m. April 3, a surveillance camera recorded Gibbs entering the girl’s room at Three Rivers Residential Treatment Services center. Metts said the girl did not invite Gibbs into the room and did not consent to have sex.
Gibbs worked at Three Rivers at the time, Metts said, but is no longer is employed at the facility, which provides psychiatric and behavioral treatment services for teen-age girls.
The charge carries a maximum punishment of 20 years in prison.
- From staff reports
Read more: ... z0q6OxKyk9

News Items / Boy raped at WestCare-Georgia Intensive RTC
« on: May 23, 2010, 10:15:37 PM »
State department of Juvenile Justice stands by youth facility operator after sexual assaultBy AP - Athens Banner-Herald Published Monday, May 17, 2010

AUGUSTA - The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice is standing behind operators of the WestCare-Georgia Intensive Residential Treatment Program, where a 16-year-old said he was sexually assaulted with a toilet plunger.

 No sanctions were imposed and no employees were disciplined, The Augusta Chronicle reported Sunday. The newspaper used an open records request to obtain the investigation report of what happened on the night of Jan. 2. As a result of the case, four teens who were at the privately run drug and alcohol recovery program were indicted on charges of aggravated sexual battery.

The report describes how four large teens attacked the victim while the lights were out during a shift change.

The file said corrective actions taken by the company include adopting a zero-tolerance policy for "horse play" and assigning extra keys so counselors overseeing dormitories can keep watch over residents during shift changes.

News Items / "fight club" at the Corpus Christi State School
« on: May 12, 2010, 06:03:58 PM »
Employees of Texas school go to trial after forcing disabled students into fight club

McAllen Texas-Grainy cell phone videos showing developmentally disabled students forced to fight each other will likely be shown to jurors this week as four former employees at a Texas school go on trial.
The late-night "fight club" at the Corpus Christi State School — orchestrated, authorities say, for the entertainment of those responsible for protecting the students — was uncovered in March after the images were found on a lost cell phone.

On Monday, jurors were expected to be picked for the trial of Timothy Dixon, 30, D'Angelo Riley, 23, and Jesse Salazar, 25, all charged with multiple counts of causing bodily injury to a disabled person. In a separate courtroom, Stephanie Garza, 21, was to face a lesser charge of not intervening to stop the fights. Two other former employees are scheduled to go on trial later this year.

"These people did horrific things," said Jeff Garrison-Tate, of the advocacy group Community Now!, which has called for closing the state schools in favor of community-based services. "But they were given silent permission for these heinous acts."
District Attorney Carlos Valdez did not return calls for comment. Defense attorneys for the accused declined to comment.

Almost 20 videos dating back to 2007 were found on a cell phone turned in to police, showing staff at the Corpus Christi State School forcing residents into late-night bouts, even kicking them to egg them on. Eleven staff members were identified and six were charged.
Dixon is believed to have shot the videos, though other staff members can been seen pointing cell phone cameras toward the brawls. None of those charged still works at the facility.

The state has taken pains to close the issue. In May, the Legislature approved a $112 million settlement with the Justice Department for widespread mistreatment found at Texas' 13 residential facilities for the developmentally disabled. Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation last month aimed at improving oversight of the facilities that house nearly 5,000 people.

The settlement is "a big step that will certainly bring improvements and changes to the system," said Laura Albrecht, a spokeswoman for the Department of Aging and Disability Services. She said the agency is making unannounced visits to the Corpus Christi facility and cameras are being installed.
The school's director remains in place, to the consternation of some who say that the incidents showed a disturbing lack of supervision.

Beth Mitchell, the managing lawyer for Advocacy Inc., a nonprofit with federal authority to monitor abuse and neglect at the facilities, asked what the administration's role in the alleged crimes was.
"They (those charged) were probably the ones instigating the fight clubs, but my concern is: How can you have it going on as long as it did without the administration knowing about it?" she asked.

Read more:
IDK if this topic is already entered into the discussion. Search feature no-go

New Info / New Beginnings staffer charged w/ sexual assault
« on: May 01, 2010, 04:42:31 AM »
New Beginnings Staffer charged with assault : Tuesday, April 13, 2010
BARRON - A former employee of a residential treatment center in Rice Lake pleaded not guilty Monday in Barron County Court to sexually assaulting patients late last year.
Douglas P. Dyson, 46, of Rice Lake is charged with five counts of second-degree sexual assault at New Beginnings of Barron County, a community-based residential treatment facility. Dyson made his plea after waiving his preliminary hearing.

New Info / Northwestern Human Services staffer charged with assault
« on: May 01, 2010, 04:15:20 AM »
BETHLEHEM, Pa. - January 13, 2010 -- An eastern Pennsylvania man is charged with sexually assaulting a teen patient at a treatment facility where he worked.
Thirty-nine-year-old Andre Lamonte Ingram of Bethlehem is charged with 15 counts of institutional sexual assault.
 Police say he repeatedly assaulted a 17-year-old girl being treated at Northwestern Human Services last summer.
The facility provides a variety of treatment services including drug and alcohol addiction counseling to mental health programs. Police say Ingram was a residential staff member at the facility.
Ingram was charged Tuesday. He is begin held on $10,000 bail.

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