Prosecutions Rare For Institution Employees Accused Of Abuse, Neglect
When a fight club was uncovered at a Texas institution last year, it drew national outrage and spawned several prosecutions. But such legal action appears to be rare even in cases of extreme abuse or neglect, an investigation has found.
Over the last ten years about 300 employees at Texas facilities for people with disabilities were terminated or suspended for mistreating residents. Of those, just 13 faced criminal charges and only two spent time in jail, according to a review conducted by The Texas Tribune.
Among the fired or disciplined employees who did not face prosecution are those accused of beating a resident who wouldn’t quiet down to the point that she needed stitches and another who sexually assaulted two residents.
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Prosecutors say such cases are hard to bring forward because often there is little evidence and no witnesses.
But advocates insist the lack of attention paid to such cases is really due to a second-class status placed on people with disabilities. In many cases residents of the state facilities don’t have relatives to fight on their behalf and without pressure, local authorities quickly forget about their cases.
“If someone saw me on the street kicking my dog, I would be in jail. But when a person with a significant disability in our state-operated, taxpayer-funded institutions is beaten, nothing happens to them,” one advocate told The Texas Tribune. To read more click here.