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Abuse of Disabled People Blamed on 'Paranormal Activity'

Federal report details widespread abuse at Colorado facility
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 1, 2016 10:58 AM CDT
Abuse of Disabled People Blamed on 'Paranormal Activity'

“It’s much worse than we thought. It seems like every system of oversight failed," the head of a nonprofit group for people with developmental disabilities tells the Denver Post. The Post has gotten its hands on a federal report detailing widespread and upsetting abuse at the Pueblo Regional Center, a Colorado facility that's home to 60 or so people with developmental and intellectual disabilities. In one case, staffers posted photos to social media showing residents with phrases like "die" and "I'm back" scratched into their skin. Staff blamed "paranormal activity." One resident exchanged a sex act with a staffer for a soda.

And there's more. One resident was locked outside in the cold for two hours as punishment. Another was driven to a doctor's appointment by an intoxicated staffer. A staffer attacked multiple residents, threatening to "slash the throat" of one. A resident died when a staffer wrongly believed there was a do-not-resuscitate order. All told, federal investigators detailed at least "19 complaints of abuse, maltreatment, and unlawful sexual contact." State officials are upset the report has been made public, claiming they've already dealt with the abuse, all of which happened prior to November 2015. But an investigation last spring found still more problems at the facility, and Colorado may have to repay millions in Medicaid funding. Read the full story here. (More abuse stories.)

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