Ten Workers Fired For Not Reporting Supervisor's Abuse; Home Fined
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
June 6, 2006
LAWRENCE, KANSAS--After a 17-day investigation, the state of Kansas has issued a $10,000 fine to a nonprofit organization that runs a group home over a series of reports of abuse of its residents.
According to the Lawrence Journal-World, the investigation by the Kansas Department on Aging confirmed what officials at Community Living Opportunities had found -- that a supervisor at Ponderosa House, which houses eight adults with developmental disabilities, repeatedly physically, emotionally and verbally abused several residents before she was fired.
Among other things, the supervisor reportedly forced one resident, who is blind and cannot speak, to stand for long periods of time to keep her from falling asleep; made the same resident stand outside for several hours by herself in urine-soaked clothes; and threw one resident's meal in the trash as punishment for "bad behavior", such as failing to use a spoon and eating fast when told to slow down.
The supervisor's own boss learned of the allegations in late April while overhearing group home workers talk about the abuse. When confronted the workers said they had not reported the abuse because they were afraid they would lose their jobs.
CLO officials said the state was informed of the abuse allegations immediately and the supervisor was promptly fired.
The state completed its investigation on May 24. By the following afternoon, CLO had fired all ten Ponderosa House employees for failing to report the abuse they had witnessed.
Some of those workers are accusing their employer of lying about the dates the abuse was reported, and firing them to save face.
The Disability Rights Center might file a civil lawsuit on behalf of the group home residents. Whether criminal charges are to be filed is up to the Douglas County District Attorney's office and the Kansas Attorney General.
In related news, two former Ponderosa House employees are awaiting trial on felony charges for allegedly abusing residents in June 2005. Dustin Dean Taylor is scheduled in court on June 19, while Eric Scott Wyatt is scheduled for August 14.
"Group home employees fired after abuse found" (Lawrence Journal-World)
"Former group home workers say employer lied, fired them to save face in abuse case" (Lawrence Journal-World)
"CLO fined $10K for abuse of residents" (Lawrence Journal-World)