The following is an excerpt of the Investigation by Vermont Disability Rights (DRVT) on the Alleged Abuse of William Bennett
May 31, 2011
Pursuant to DRVT’s federal mandate to investigate allegations of abuse or neglect against persons with disabilities, DRVT conducted such an investigation in response to a request received in February 2011 from Mr. Bennett’s legal guardian. Bill and his legal guardian alleged that he had suffered an incident of abuse perpetrated against him by his home care provider, Home Care Provider #2, who was under the direction of Sterling Area Services, Inc.(SAS).
Bill’s Behavior Support Plan similarly states the following under the heading Processing an Incident:
Give Bill time to reflect upon what happened. He may need space (eyes on) to process on his own before having a conversation with support people. When Bill is ready, approach him in a non- threatening manner to help process the incident. To achieve the best possible outcome respect Bill’s opinion and treat him as an adult.
Under the heading Crisis Response the Plan states:
When confronted with escalating behavior and Bill is non-responsive to redirection and positive reinforcement it is important that staff adhere to the following protocol. Remove self from immediate area, ensuring that Bill stays within eye sight of you at all times
Comparison of this information from Bill’s Behavior Plan with the information obtained during the course of this investigation indicates that it is likely Home Care Provider #2 did not act in accordance with the Plan or his professional training. Even assuming Bill did swing at Home Care Provider #2 the first time in the living room and retreated to his bedroom, the Behavior Plan suggested that Home Care Provider #2 could have given Bill distance and space at that time but instead chose to impose more confrontation on the situation.
Read the full report – Bennett B Report to Family Redacted 5-31-11
From the Chronicle
This series looks at a privately operated but state funded program created to deal with people who have two strikes against them: a court has judged them to be mentally retarded, and they have been accused of a sexual offense for which, because of their disability, they cannot consitutionally be brought to trial. Our series, which began in October 2008 and runs (so far) through May 2011, deals with “clients” who found the Safe Choices Program humiliating, confining, threatening and mentally abusive. None of our subjects quite fits the definition Safe Choices was created to serve. They had never been formally charged with a serious sexual offense, but instead were suspected of sexual misbehaviour and sent to Safe Choices by public or private guardians.