Author Topic: Three arrested after alleged assault at Rotenberg home  (Read 2678 times)

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Offline Ursus

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Three arrested after alleged assault at Rotenberg home
« on: November 09, 2011, 12:13:25 AM »
The Stoughton Journal
SNYDER'S STOUGHTON: Three arrested after alleged assault at Rotenberg home

By Mark Snyder
Wicked Local Stoughton

Posted Nov 07, 2011 @ 07:29 PM
Last update Nov 08, 2011 @ 01:27 PM

Stoughton — An incident was reported to the Stoughton Police Department Saturday at 8:25 p.m. at the Judge Rotenberg Center's "group home" at 1115 Park St., Stoughton.

Stoughton Police Executive Director Robert Devine told Snyder's Stoughton, "We had to call in mutual aid. We'd like to thank the Canton Police for their effort."

Devine said that when police arrived, three residents of the house - a 20-year-old and two 16-year-olds - had barricaded themselves in a room.

"They had assaulted staff and were throwing things at them," Devine said. "The staff called police. Officer McNamara was charged with trying to talk them out of the room. They were uncooperative and threatened to attack police if they came in after them. When Canton Canine Officer Scott Brown and his dog Bosco arrived on scene, the three heard the dog and surrendered."

Eyheen Fountain, 20, and two juveniles who were not named by police were charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (dishes and frying pans), vandalizing property, and assault and battery.

Fountain was arraigned Nov. 7 and released back to the Park Street home. The juveniles are due later in the week at juvenile court.

Devine said the quick call to police Saturday night was "a marked departure from the JRC's past policies and procedures."

He estimated there are at least seven JRC homes in Stoughton.

"By the time we're notified, they are already set up and running," he said. "It's been awhile since we've heard from them - maybe nine months to a year. Previous to that, we had a stretch two years ago when we got called every week, with a large volume of calls. We voiced our displeasure and met with their management. We made our recommendations, and they instituted many of them. We've had a lull until Saturday night."

There were staff members with injuries like cuts, bruises and busted lips, Devine said.

This JRC group home is located adjacent to the Cedar Hill Golf Course, and almost diagonally across the street from Selectman Cynthia Walsh's home. 

"I wasn't aware of any problems at the Rotenberg house," Walsh said. "No one called me or came to my door. But, I've never had a problem there. You'd never know they were there. I've never witnessed or heard anything unusual. I see the white van when it goes back and forth."

Walsh said she is more concerned about an arson fire in her backyard that is still unsolved.

"I know that the JRC kids didn't do it. So, I think I have more to fear from others in the town rather than the residents there."

Walsh said that the Rotenberg organization bought the house more than four years ago, and moved in recently.

"I'd rather have an occupied property than one that is vacant," she said. "But it would be nice if they made people aware of where they were. They used to have neighborhood meetings."

JRC Attorney Mike Flammia responded to a call for more information about security precautions in the homes, as well as how the safety of staff and neighbors are protected. He told me, "All the houses are fully equipped with security. They are fully secure. None of the students got out Saturday night."

He said if a student does get out, the staff lets neighbors know.

"The students receive excellent treatment there," Flammia said. "They have behavioral problems and the staff is trained on how to handle students. They go through weeks and months of training on how to respond. They have equipment to prepare them for situations. They are trained in how to react to crisis situations. They are trained on how to restrain the student or to call 911 - which is what they did here."

When I asked how many JRC homes were in Stoughton, Flammia said he didn't know. When I asked why neighbors are no longer notified of these homes, he said, "You can't discriminate against group homes. You cant prevent them. Its illegal.  These children are entitled to their education and to live wherever JRC purchases homes. There's no need for neighbors to be concerned in terms of safety or anything else."

The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center (JRC, formerly known as the Behavior Research Institute), a school for special needs students, operates in Canton, providing applied behavior analysis and educational services to children and adults with severe developmental disabilities and emotional or behavior disorders. It also provides respite care to their primary caregivers.

Psychologist Matthew L. Israel, who trained with B.F. Skinner, found it as the Behavior Research Institute in 1971. In 1994, the center changed its name to the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center to honor the memory of the judge who helped to preserve the program from extinction at the hands of state licensing officials in the 1980s. The center serves 225 clients with a staff of moer than 850 full-time employees.

The Judge Rotenberg Center treatment goals include a near-zero rejection/expulsion policy, active treatment with a behavioral approach directed exclusively towards normalization, frequent use of behavioral rewards and punishment, video monitoring of staff and the option to use aversives, the most controversial of which is the use of electric shocks. The final item has provoked considerable controversy and has led to calls from several disability rights groups to call for human protection from behavior modification, behavior therapy, and applied behavior analysis approaches.

In May, Israel was charged with misleading a grand jury over the school's destruction of the tapes, as well as being an accessory after the fact. After Israel resigned his position at the JREC, the organization is administered by a court-appointed monitor.

I have written extensively about this company (see "Something's Rotten at Rotenberg Center"). Dr. Israel dodged me for weeks to evade conversing about what went on behind closed doors in its facilities a half-dozen years ago. The staff  gave me a "tour" of the Canton school, which was carefully scripted. When a "student" tried to talk to me, they yanked him away.

I know that I have spoken to parents of students in this program, and they have praised it. Many told me it was their "last straw" for their children, and their family. They just couldn't do anything more for them. One told me that the JRC was "a blessing" for their family.

But Stoughton seems to have more of these homes than any other town.  It may be good for the students, but I don't see how it can be good for the neighborhood, no matter how you spin it.

Mark Snyder, former Chairman of the Board of the Neponset Valley Chamber of Commerce, has written over 1460 articles in newspapers and magazines, and published three books. He is the CEO of, the internet's entertainment superstation, and, a community website, which has recorded over 25 million hits in the past two years. He can be reached by fax at 781-344-7207, by email at <!-- e --><a href="mailto:[email protected]">[email protected]</a><!-- e -->, on Facebook (Snyder’s Stoughton), and on Twitter (MediaMan2009). He has been writing "Snyder's Stoughton" in the Journal since November 1998.

Copyright 2011 Stoughton Journal.
Copyright © 2006-2011 GateHouse Media, Inc.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2013, 09:27:48 AM by webdiva »
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Offline Ursus

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Comments: Three arrested after alleged assault at Rotenberg
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2011, 12:47:55 AM »
Comments left for the above article, "Three arrested after alleged assault at Rotenberg home" (by Mark Snyder; Nov 08, 2011; Stoughton Journal):

KateGladstone · 1 day ago
    To kids who've survived Rotenberg, going to jail probably feels like going to Las Vegas by comparison. F I lived in Rotenberg, I'd probably try very hard to get myself arrested ... because jail-discipline isn't allowed to include electric shocks or starvation, so even the toughest prison-sentence would be a major reward. Whatever Rotenberg is aiming for, in practice it my be producing people who are immune to punishment.
02072fan · 16 hours ago
    I agree with Kate. Although I don't know much about these kids, it seems based on what I've read over the years about the Rotenberg center, it seems to be a legally abusive home with absolutely no way out for the people who live there. The staff can get away with doing what ever they want to the residents and the residents voices or cries for help can not be heard. I can only imagine what these 3 teens had to endure after being retuned to the same home after this episode. Shows like Dateline, 20/20 etc. aught to investigate JRC, it doesn't seem like a humane way to care for people who probably could use positive reinforcement and psychological help. Shocking, starvation, abusive is not the way to treat anyone.
tatko · 10 hours ago
    Okay Kate, you might be on to something here. Going to jail may be easier than learning to behave in a way that does not put others at risk of injury, or allow you to one day become a contributing member of society. However, the reason these kids are in the program is because they are unable to function anywhere else. It is their last opportunity to learn the skills needed to be part of society. I mean, is it more humane to lock someone in a cell?
    02072Fan, if you are going to base your public opinion on a reporters pitiful collection of selective information published to the public, you are, IMHO, legally abusing your right to free speech. The staff is some of the most regulated and closely watched administrators in the country. All punishment or aversives are government sanctioned. If you took the time to educate yourself on the program, you would see that most of these kids are living more comfortable lives than us. The positive reinforcement is so extreme it would make almost anyone jealous.
    Grow up.
02072fan · 8 hours ago
    Electric shocks, starvation etc. - yeah, I'd say it's more humane to place them in a cell. Obviously your technique of skill building is not working so well since your acts of punishment seem to be readily used on your residents. Furthermore, it's not just one or two reporters that have published information alleging abuse, it's been several reports over the years. Since you seem 'educated' about JRC, you can enlighten the readers who have in your words been basing our opinion 'on a reporters pitiful collection of selective information' on what the average stay is of your residents, how often the average resident has visitors from his/her parents, what a typical day is like for your residents, how often are the residents allowed to go out (shopping center, movies, a gym) or deal with the general public, who determines when a resident can and should leave the JRC permanently (can they make their own decision at 18 yrs. of age) etc. Since we seem to be basing our opinions on the countless reports that seem to focus on the abuse, shocking methods and starvation - why don't you use your right to Freedom of Speech and educate the public on what you have first hand knowledge of.
Regular Joe · 6 hours ago
    Is it true they are trying to build another facility next to the Bradley Lessa playground on West Street?

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