Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday round-up

From the Associated Press, McAllen, Texas (March 12) - Police issued arrest warrants for six employees of a Corpus Christi state home accused of staging or failing to report after-hours fights between intellectually disabled residents. All six are charged with causing injury to a disabled person. As conveyed in an earlier post, police learned of the fights after someone gave an off-duty officer videos that show intellectually disabled male residents fighting each other while the employees watch. Gov. Rick Perry has ordered a moratorium on new admissions to the Corpus Christi facility and demanding the installation of security cameras. See also this report in the Dallas News which says that allegations of staff members forcing intellectually disabled residents to fight each other have been confirmed in at least two other Texas institutions.

From the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), (March 11) - Former students of a now-closed school for the deaf have filed a class action lawsuit against the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, alleging they were sexually and physically abused by employees at the government-funded residential school and other students. According to their lawyer, they were unable to report the abuse because the school had complete control over their lives.

From an ADAPT press release at the AAPD Justice for All blog (March 11) - Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) will introduce the Community Choice Act (CCA) in both houses of Congress on March 24. The CCA will allow people with disabilities and older people to choose to stay in their own homes and communities with attendant care instead of being forced into nursing homes and other institutions by the current institutional bias in Medicaid. Both President Obama and Vice President Biden were CCA co-sponsors during their years in the Senate.

From The Times of India in Chennai, India (March 11) - According to a survey released on International Women's Day on March 8, less than 50% of women with disabilities hold jobs. Of the employed disabled women, nearly 40% are in craft-based and sheltered workshops (h/t Media dis&dat)

From The AP, Big Stone Gap, Virginia (March 11) - Federal officials say Advance Auto Parts Inc. will pay $50,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit that claimed the company refused to hire a man because he has cerebral palsy.The lawsuit said Jeffrey Scott Sanders completed a sales internship at the company's store in Staunton. But the company wouldn't hire Sanders for a part-time sales job at the Norton store in September 2004. According to the lawsuit, at least one other person less qualified than Sanders was hired.

From WZTV, Frankfort, Kentucky (March 10) - A worker at a home that cares for people with disabilities has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of an intellectually disabled patient in 2007. In addition, Matthew Bortles of Soldier also pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and knowing abuse of a vulnerable adult. Another caregiver at the home, Branden Starostka, pleaded guilty to tampering with evidence and wanton abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult.Under the terms of the plea agreement, Bortles will serve eight years in prison and Starostka five.

From Canwest News Service in Canada (March 10) - Canada's two largest airlines must give disabled and morbidly obese passengers an extra free seat on domestic flights, beginning in January, after the Supreme Court refused yesterday to consider the carriers' appeal of a federal order.

From Dallas News, San Antonio, Dallas, Texas (March 9) - The death of a 54-year-old woman with schizophrenia and mild intellectual disabilities has spurred criticism of San Antonia State Hospital's release policy. The woman, who was dropped off by a worker at a downtown greyhound station just before Christmas after workers decided to send her home, was found dead three days later in brackish water in a concrete ditch in San Antonio.