Accusations of Violence at Disability Center Have Gone Unpunished
Several accusations of physical abuse against a nursing assistant at a California developmental disability center have gone unpunished after years of delays, according to a review of internal documents from the state Department of Public Health, the Center for Investigative Reporting reports.
Details of Accusations
Erik Hansen -- a nursing assistant at California's Porterville Developmental Center, which treats individuals with mental illness and other disorders -- has been accused of six counts of physical abuse against patients at the facility.
Between 2007 and 2012, six patients accused him of violence, such as:
- Choking; and
However, Hansen has not faced any criminal charges in the cases. Some of the investigations were delayed for years because the California Department of Public Health waited to begin interviews and center staff avoided questioning, according to CIR.
CIR reports that the findings offer a "disturbing glimpse into how the state investigates violence and abuse within the walls of its five board-and-care homes for the developmentally disabled."
In addition, the findings show that "[n]one of the agencies responsible for safeguarding vulnerable patients functioned properly in this case," according to CIR.
Assembly member Connie Conway (R-Visalia) -- whose district includes the Porterville center -- said she has "grave concerns about the slow investigations by the developmental center and the culture of silence that appears to exist." Conway added, "The fear of retaliation has led to a web of lies, cover-ups and injustice" (Gabrielson, Center for Investigative Reporting, 11/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.