California Developmental Center Police Failed to Protect Patients, Audit Finds

By Elaine Korry, KQED

(Monica Lam/Center for Investigative Reporting)

(Monica Lam/Center for Investigative Reporting)

A state audit has found widespread safety problems at five residential centers for people with severe developmental disorders. It documents years of failures by the state Office of Protective Services, which is charged with resident safety at the centers.

The 76-page audit was requested by lawmakers following allegations of sexual molestation and physical assaults that had gone unpunished by the Office of Protective Services. OPS is the in-house oversight agency of the state Department of Developmental Services, which cares for 1,700 people with cerebral palsy, mental retardation and severe autism. In a telephone conference call, disability rights advocate Greg deGiere said the audit vindicates years of media investigations and family complaints.

“We’re talking about serial rapes, torture with tasers, at least one apparent homicide.”

“This audit is a scathing, devastating indictment of the state’s mismanagement of the developmental center residents’ safety,” said disability rights advocate Greg deGiere in a conference call. “Both the Department of Developmental Services and the Department of Public Health have failed to do their jobs and still are failing to do them adequately.” Continue reading