For Immediate Release
STATE OFFICE OF PROTECTION AND ADVOCACY FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES CONFIRMS INVESTIGATION INTO VIDEO RECORDING OF ABUSE
The Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (OPA) today confirmed that it is investigating allegations of abuse and neglect related to conduct captured on a brief video recording that was delivered to the Department of Developmental Services on Tuesday, July 10th. The recording, which was also delivered to a local television news department, depicts a group home staff member physically assaulting and threatening an intellectually disabled resident of the home. The home is located in East Hartford and is operated by Options Unlimited, Inc., a non-profit provider agency. Because the actions of the staff member appear to be criminal in nature, the matter has been referred for a criminal investigation by the East Hartford Police Department.
“It is our policy not to comment on open investigations into allegations of abuse and neglect,” said OPA Executive Director James D. McGaughey. “I can only confirm that our agency is conducting an investigation pursuant to our statutory authority. Of course, when an allegation of abuse involves possible criminal conduct, the police investigation takes precedence. However, it is also important to thoroughly and objectively inquire into all the circumstances surrounding such an occurrence, and to assure that if administrative actions or protective services are warranted, they are delivered.”
Sections 46a-11a through 46a-11h of the Connecticut General Statutes authorize OPA to investigate allegations of abuse and neglect of individuals with intellectual disabilities, and, if warranted, to require DDS to develop protective services in order to assure the health and safety of victims. The law mandates that employees of the developmental services system and other professionals report suspected abuse and neglect to OPA, and cooperate with investigations. If necessary, the agency can issue subpoenas to obtain information relevant to an investigation. OPA is also designated as Connecticut’s protection and advocacy system (P&A) under the Federal Developmental Disabilities Act, which also requires that the agency be authorized to conduct abuse investigations.
James D. McGaughey, Executive Director