1 in 17 Mentally Retarded Residents Abused at Texas Schools

AUSTIN, Texas – Residents at Texas state schools for the mentally retarded have suffered verbal, physical and sometimes even sexual abuse from staff members trained to take care of them.

Documents from nine out of 12 schools outlined incidents of neglect, threats and physical violence spanning several years. According to Ann Arbor News , approximately 50 percent of the confirmed reports involved neglect, such as an El Paso State Center resident found covered in feces outside the facility in 2004. More troubling cases include a staff worker who forced a resident at Lufkin State School to walk the grounds with socks stuffed in her mouth or two employees who attacked and taunted a former sexual abuse victim about her past.

Ann Arbor News received 474 confirmed cases since 2000, but state officials say they have almost 300 confirmed cases for each of the past two years, a number that translates to about 1 in 17 residents annually.

State health officials say that they refer every abuse allegation to the Department of Family and Protective Services, which then launches an investigation. During that time all employees involved are forbidden to work with the residents. Confirmed cases are sent to local police departments. In almost 18 percent of the cases, an employee was fired; 33 percent ended in suspensions.

The Department of Justice’s Civil Right’s division is still working with state officials to resolve transgressions at the Lubbock State School, where more than 17 residents have died since June 2005.

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