DOJ Investigates Abuse Allegations at Atascadero State Hospital
The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating allegations of patient abuse at Atascadero State Hospital, a facility near San Luis Obispo that houses and treats convicted sexually violent predators and criminally insane prisoners, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports.
Eric Holland, a DOJ spokesperson, on Monday said an investigation by the civil rights division of the U.S. attorney's office is ongoing but did not provide details.
ASH spokesperson Barrie Hafler said the hospital received a letter in February notifying hospital officials of the investigation. No details of the investigation were included in the letter, and there has not been a follow-up, Hafler said. "We're unaware of the particular area of investigation by the DOJ," Hafler said (Curtis, AP/Contra Costa Times, 6/28).
In addition, Los Angeles-based Citizens' Commission on Human Rights, a not-for-profit patients' rights group sponsored by the Church of Scientology, said it has received as many as 250 allegations of abuse since February from more than 80 ASH patients. According to the San Luis Obispo Tribune, the group's allegations "ranged from the overmedication of patients to violence and other inappropriate behavior by staff" (San Luis Obispo Tribune, 6/28).