A recent report by 13 Investigates in Indiana has uncovered widespread neglect and physical and sexual abuse of residents in facilities operated ResCare Residential Services, which is one of the largest residential care providers for the disabled in Indiana.
This report has found reports of abuse and neglect in group homes in Indiana and throughout the United States.
In one of the most brutal cases of physical violence found at ResCare facilities, a former employee of a ResCare group home in Fishers admitted to viciously beating resident Anthony Harris in 2017.
Harris was a cerebral palsy patient at the group home. Emergency workers found him in his room beaten bloody with a bruised and swollen face. According to Harris’ attorney, he was also tortured by the employee, Michael Anderson.
Anderson was charged with criminal battery and pleaded guilty. He was sentenced to six years in prison.
According to court documents, Michael Anderson had a criminal history before being hired by ResCare, including convictions for a drug offense and animal cruelty.
Animal cruelty as defined by Indiana law is “intentionally beating a vertebrate animal.” Anderson pleaded guilty to a criminal misdemeanor in that case in 2012.
ResCare settled a lawsuit in San Luis Obispo, California in another case involving an employee beating a resident.
A 20-year-old man with severe autism was physically attacked by a caregiver and the violence was captured on a hidden video camera, which showed the employee grabbing the resident, violently lifting him from his chair, and falling down behind a table out of view of the camera.
That victim’s mother sued the facility, and the lawsuit revealed that the employee had pleaded no contest in two separate misdemeanor assault cases. Both of these convictions occurred before he was hired at ResCare.
In June of 2016, five ResCare employees were charged with battery and neglect of a dependent for three incidents at two group homes.
Caregiver Charles Shelton pleaded guilty to a battery charge for allegedly pushing an incapacitated patient down a flight of stairs and breaking the man’s ribs, according to the victim’s attorney.
33-year-old Megan Catherine Akers admitted to beating a 27-year-old man with severe autism and was sentenced to 18 months in a Lake County community corrections program.
A former Fort Wayne ResCare employee is currently serving a four-year prison sentence after entering a guilty plea to sexual misconduct with a minor.
Court records say that Amy Walls battered and sexually abused a 14-year-old resident who she was supervising at the ResCare facility.
Attorney Jeff Gibson represents victims of physical and sexual abuse in civil lawsuits. Jeff has offered to share some thoughts regarding the legal rights of those who have been abused in group homes and residential care facilities:
Residential care facilities for the disabled have a crucial responsibility to make sure that their employees are trustworthy people and that adequate supervision measures are in place. The residents of these facilities deserve the highest quality of care possible and, at the very least, a reasonable standard of safety. But sadly, not all of these facilities meet their legal duty to protect their residents.
When a resident of a disabled group home is abused or suffers due to neglect, it’s important both to prosecute the abuser and to determine if the facility was negligent in a way that enabled the abuse to occur. In many cases, the victims of these heinous crimes may have grounds for a lawsuit against the facility.
If you or a loved one has suffered due to abuse or neglect at a group home for the disabled, you can learn more about your family’s legal rights by contacting one of our experienced sexual abuse lawyers.