> No More Secrets And Lies: Mary is Abused at Elmore – October 5, 2008

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mary is Abused at Elmore – October 5, 2008

During one of my visits to Mary while she was at Elmore, she started telling me how the staff were treating her. She said they restrained her a number of times, and on one occasion, held her down for almost an hour. She said four or five big staff persons grabbed her, pushed her to the floor, and sat on her until she wet herself. It was so traumatic she wet herself! Think about that! She also said that one time they punished her by making her stand in the corner of a room facing the wall with her arms held straight out to her sides. She had to do this for long periods of time, and if she let her arms drop, they would make her start this punishment all over. I was furious when I found out about this. Why did Mary have to tell me this? Where were her social workers? Where was her corrections officer? Where were the people that put her in this place and who were supposedly watching out for her safety? Why weren't they checking on her while she was in a place they told us had a history of abusing kids? Why weren't they checking on a child who had a history of being abused, a child who was placed in a group home primarily so she wouldn't be abused? I was furious.

I immediately told the team what Mary had told me, but it became another topic we would never talk about. They didn't want to hear about this and they didn't do anything about it, and I probably got yelled at again for bringing it up. I can't remember. I quit keeping track. All I remember is they didn't care.

But Mary cared and so did I, like any normal parent would. And Mary was afraid to stay at that place any longer. And I told her workers I was going report this. And again, this was terribly ironic, since I was telling social workers that if they weren't going to do anything about my child being abused I was going to have to. But that left me in kind-of a bind since I couldn't report this to their office, or to the State offices, or even to an ombudsman any longer. Luckily I knew the people at The Minnesota Disability Law Center from previously working with people with disabilities, and I reported these allegations of abuse to them.

The woman at the Disability Law Center had worked at the same organization I had worked at a few years earlier: SMILES — Southern Minnesota Independent Living Enterprises and Services — located in Mankato. She understood the complex issues involved with the disabled and vulnerability, and she immediately began looking into Mary's case. There was an investigation done by Human Services in the county where Elmore is located, and charges of abuse were filed and substantiated against Elmore Academy for what they did to Mary.


AUGUSTINE. C said...

Dear Brosnan, It was nice that you shared this piece of information and the experience. I'm sorry to hear abut the irresponsible attitude of staff including the Social Workers you've mentioned.
In fact, people who have power & authority many a times to fail to hear to the voices of the needy and victimised.
Thanks for posting and be in touch now and always.


Augustine. C

John Brosnan said...

Thanks for the comment. - John

John Brosnan said...

Minnesota Statutes: Investigation of reports of maltreatment in a facility.

Vesta Duvall said...

I feel sorry for Mary that she had this kind of horrifying experience in a place where she should feel that she’s safe. It helped a lot that that Mary confessed this issue to you. It could have been worse for her if she just kept this matter to herself. I’m glad that this issue was brought out to the court and was given an action immediately.

John Brosnan said...

Thanks Vesta. She should have felt safe in that place, but like many of the group homes Blue Earth County placed her in, she didn't.

Anonymous said...

I'm not saying this didn't happen, but I've worked at a facility like this, and a girl attacked a staff, she had to be restrained by staff, because she had hurt 2 female staff and 3 of her peers. As soon as she was restrained on the ground, she peed herself, within 2 minutes of being on the floor she peed, and immediately after that, she started yelling at staff about having to lay in pee. We moved her with 6 staff. 10 minutes later she peed again. Not much, but she did. In this case, it was obvious she did it on purpose and had been abusive. Her peers all filled out police reports as did staff. The staff didn't file charges, but the students did. I'm sorry for Mary's circumstances and I hope she got the help she needed.

John Brosnan said...

Thanks for the comment.

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