Strip Club Fracas: Safety Issue Or Self-Determination?
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 1, 2004
FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA--A Fayetteville group home has been notified that it will lose its license for allowing its only resident to frequent a strip club and work as a bouncer.
According to the Fayetteville Observer, the Department of Health and Human Services levied a $1,000 fine against Leonard Hedgepeth, the operator of RALM, Inc. (Residential Alternative Living Management), and ordered that the home no longer accept new residents.
The program was fined for endangering the health, safety and welfare of the man, who was described as weighing more than 300 pounds and having psychotic and mood disorders, along with mild mental retardation. Two staff were required to be with him at all times, the paper noted, to control any outbursts he might have.
Hedgepeth said that that man was allowed to choose an activity in which to participate two times a week. He chose to go to a "night club."
Employees told investigators that the resident visited the club every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night for up to five hours at a time. Staff members often gave him money to pay for lap dances. Eventually, the club, which was owned by one group home employee's wife, hired the man as a bouncer.
"Like if anybody in the club starting (sic) fighting I have to take them out," the unnamed resident is quoted as saying.
Hedgepeth explained that the resident's case manager approved the plan allowing him to go to a nightclub of his choice. He added that RALM employees transported the man to and from the club and supervised him the entire time he was there.
The man had no behavior outbursts while in the club, Hedgepeth said.
RALM has had trouble with authorities in the past. In January an employee was arrested for hiring prostitutes for another resident and taking him to strip clubs.
"State to void group home license" (Fayetteville Observer)