Friday, February 02, 2001

Workers suspended in abuse case

State, county involved in MRDD inquiry

By Earnest Winston
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Five employees of the Butler County MRDD have been suspended with pay after a police investigation into alleged abuse and neglect of clients.

        The suspended employees are from the Hamilton Center on Symmes Road, which is an adult activity center. The facility, which opened in December 1983, employs 50 people. The employees will receive a disciplinary hearing after investigations are complete, which is typical for employees placed on administrative leave.

        Officials at MRDD declined to name the employees involved or discuss the nature of the allegations because no charges have been filed.

        “It's difficult to get convictions because ... individuals with disabilities can't talk a lot of the times or it's not easy to understand what happened to them,” said Pam Long, spokeswoman for county's Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

        Mrs. Long said MRDD felt the allegations were serious enough to ask police to get involved. She said the MRDD board has a monitoring system in place to report mistreatment of clients.

        The Ohio Attorney General's Office is also involved in the investigation, which began after a complaint was made to Hamilton police in November, said Sgt. Tom Kilgour, department spokesman.

        Butler County Prosecutor Robin Piper said his office has been asked to help authorities review the results of the investigation.

        Butler County Clerk of Courts Cindy Carpenter, who has a 14-year-old daughter with multiple disabilities, said news of the investigation has not shaken her confidence in the agency. Her daughter receives services through the MRDD board.

        “I have every confidence that they will remedy this situation,” Ms. Carpenter said. She later said, “I would not expect that you are going to find there are widespread problems here.”


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