Workers suspended for ‘Fight Club’ at Texas school for disabled

Staff at Corpus Christi State School in Corpus Christi are being accused of setting up a ‘Fight Club’ with the residents. Police say workers were encouraging residents to battle one another.
Police received a cell phone containing videos of the alleged abuse suspected to have taken place in the dorms last week. They are expecting to file arrest warrants in the case later this week for workers at Corpus Christi State School in Corpus Christi.

There are seven current staff members and four former employees being investigated on the alleged abuse.

CNN reports:

“This has been going on for some time,” Corpus Christi police Capt. Tim Wilson said. “That is what makes this an exceptional case. It is not the workers abusing the clients, so to speak. The workers are not hitting them, but they are allowing these clients to fight with each other, thereby endangering their well-being.”

“These people are charged with the care and custody of these clients, and they are exploiting (them),” he said.

Those involved will most likely be charged with injury of a disabled person, a third-class felony. The actual charges are being left up to the Nueces County District Attorney.

Straits Times reports:

‘It’s some of the worst child abuse I’ve seen in over 30 years,’ Corpus Christi Police Captain Tim Wilson said. ‘Sometimes we see isolated incidents. What’s appalling about this is that it appears to be organized.’

The videos that have been reviewed by the police show the alleged abuses taking place as far back as 2007. Most of the workers on the tapes have been identified.

Seven of the staff at the school are on paid emergency leave. They were placed on leave by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services. Authorities have said that former staff may also be interviewed for the case.

The employees on leave are not allowed on the campus grounds. They are required, however, to show up at the gate each day they are on leave to sign in.

The New York Daily News reports:

“Any abuse or neglect of residents placed in our care will not be tolerated,” said Laura Albrecht, a spokeswoman for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services.

Texas is dealing with several abuse allegations against state school employees. A federal report from 2008 cited 53 deaths linked to preventable conditions within these schools. The report called the hundreds of reports that have been filed on cases of abuse and injuries to patients “disturbingly high.” Almost half of state facilities are in danger of losing government funding because of alleged abuses.

The state at this time does not require staff to have fingerprinting, background checks and random drug testing when hiring employees. That is measure up for the state Legislature. Lawmakers are also wanting to create an ombudsman to investigate injuries and deaths. Texas is considering having the proposed future ombudsman oversee a hot line for abuse-and-neglect calls.

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