Calls for Independent Monitor to supervise state facilities

Abuse claims prompt calls for change
Posted at 10:28 PM, Oct 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-11 00:28:08-04

DENVER -- As the parent of a child with down syndrome, Lloyd Lewis would do anything for his 13-year-old son Kennedy.

That’s why he takes the claims of abuse at the Pueblo Regional Center so personally.

"It's difficult to describe the reaction, the emotional nature of my reaction," he said.

Among the claims in the federal report, disabled people with the words "kill" and "die" scratched into their skin.  Even strip searches involving some of the most vulnerable residents.

It’s these allegations that are prompting him to take action.

"It scares me as a father to think my child is anywhere at risk for similar abuse," he said.

In addition, the federal report cites claims of abuse that weren't always investigated.

"We see this as a crisis.  We see this as something that needs to get dealt with now," said disabilities advocate Julie Reiskin.

She says someone other than the state needs to monitor facilities like the one in Pueblo.

Advocates want the Feds or even a non-profit to take complaints - and then have the power to take action.

"I think if there's an independent investigator whose not tied to, you know current programs, I think that will make a very big difference," said Lewis.

A difference for his son and others who may have to count on the state for care.

 "I don't what the future holds.  When he graduates high school or college, what kind of residential system will be available for him?" asked Lewis

It appears his voice is being heard. The Governor’s office tells Denver7, it could announce an independent monitor in just weeks.


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