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Group Home Patients in Indiana Brutally Abused By Caregivers

Wagner Reese

ResCare is one of Indiana’s largest residential care providers, which means they  care for vulnerable residents who often require 24/7 care and supervision. Many of these residents have disabilities, such as cerebral palsy or autism, and are regularly confined to wheelchairs or are nonverbal. Unfortunately, the caregivers hired to care for these individuals don’t always have their best interest at heart.

In the past few years, several ResCare residents have suffered serious abuse while in their group homes, and reports indicate that negligent hiring practices may be to blame. The 13 Investigates team at WTHR uncovered several severe abuse cases within ResCare facilities, several of which may have been preventable.

The Abuse of Anthony Harris

One resident, Anthony Harris, was found bloodied and beaten on the floor of his room within the Fishers, Indiana ResCare group home in 2017. Harris has cerebral palsy, is completely disabled, and non-verbal. When the nurse found Harris, she called 911 and explained that, “His face is all bruised up. His eye is swollen and the CAT scan, it seems like he might have been abused in the group home or somewhere.” Medical staff also discovered that Harris had damaged bones in his fingers, which showed that they had been bent backward and broken repeatedly. In Harris’s room, another resident was also found with a bruised and swollen face.

The man hired by ResCare to care for Harris, Michael Anderson, has a criminal record, including prior convictions for a drug offense and animal cruelty. When charged with abusing Harris, Anderson pled guilty—but why was he hired in the first place?

Other Instances of ResCare Group Home Abuse

Other instances of abuse within ResCare facility raise red flags regarding the company’s policies when hiring caregivers. As the nation’s largest provider of healthcare services to people with disabilities and the largest privately-owned home care company, ResCare’s ability to screen and hire qualified, safe caregivers isn’t just important, it is essential. Unfortunately, they’ve failed on this front time and time again.

The Indiana State Department of Health states that 23 ResCare facilities in Indiana have been investigated for various complaints, though none were reported in the Fisher home where Anthony Harris was savagely beaten.

In June 2016, five ResCare caregivers faced battery and neglect charges for three separate incidents in a facility in Hobart, Indiana. In one of those instances, the caregiver pushed the victim down the stairs, and in another case, a separate caregiver struck her victim, (a man with severe autism), in the face with a clipboard.

In Fort Wayne, Indiana, another ResCare caregiver was charged and convicted for sexual misconduct and abuse of a minor, a 14-year-old resident under her care. She is currently serving a 4-year sentence for her crimes.

ResCare Receives No Citations

Despite each of these investigations for potential violations, ResCare received no citations between 2016 and 2019. No fines were issued, and ResCare facilities remain operational. The state inspectors did state that ResCare needed to take action to implement better staff training and take action to prevent mistreatment, but further action has not yet taken place.

Was Your Loved One Abused? We Can Help.

Group homes are meant to help families and individuals dealing with complex medical situations, including those with disabilities. In order to provide adequate care, those facilities, like ResCare, must do their part to hire, train, and supervise upstanding and qualified employees. Any negligence on their part could put residents in harm’s way and, ultimately, could result in a life-or-death situation.

If someone you love suffered abuse in a group home or at the hands of a caregiver, our team at Wagner Reese is prepared to help. We can help you take legal action against the liable party to hold them responsible for their negligent actions. Abuse should never be tolerated, and we want to help ensure your family receives the justice and compensation you deserve.

Contact Wagner Reese to discuss your case with our attorneys.

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