It has been two years since the infamous State School Fight Club, which briefly put Corpus Christi into the national headlines, and not in a good way.
On Tuesday, it was learned that another former State School employee has been indicted on charges of allowing two residents to fight each other. The alleged incident happened while the state was in the middle of its investigation over the fight club videos.
The first incidents of the fight club came to light in March of 2009. Soon after, the State Department of Family and Protective Services began its investigation, which led to several people being fired and criminally charged.
Four months later another fight occurred, involving two residents, while a state employee watched on.
"It is some concern because it involves some members, some clients, at the State School, being abused," District Attorney Mark Skurka said. "And so we are following up on that."
Skurka confirmed that the defendant, a 30-year old woman, was indicted by a Nueces County Grand Jury on Jan. 18 for injury to a disabled individual, a third-degree felony. The indictment indicates that the employee allowed the fight between one resident and another to happen, adding that the defendant intentionally or knowingly by omission, caused bodily injury to the disabled individual.
In other words, she has been indicted for not doing something to stop the fighting between the residents.
Unlike the fight club incident, which was caught on cell phone camera, this incident was not. Skurka said this recent case is in no way related to the fight club.
"This appears to be an isolated incident," Skurka said. "In this case, none of the parties in this case are connected with the parties in what we call the fight club cases."
"I wish I could say that this surprises me, but when I saw what was going on in the State School Fight Club case, and then I learned more about what the trend was around the country to take care of these special needs adults, most of whom don't have families and cannot defend themselves, nor do they have anyone checking on them," said Bob Hilliard, an attorney for State School victims. "So they are truly, 100-percent at the mercy of predators like this woman."
The Texas Department of Aging & Disabilities Services, the agency that oversees the Corpus Christi state-supported living center, said the defendant who was indicted on Jan. 18 worked from May of 2006 until she was indicted.
The Department of Family and Protective Services investigated the incident that happened in July of 2009 and confirmed the allegations. The defendant then appealed to an administrative law judge, who overturned her disciplinary actions.
Late Tuesday evening, Kiii News received an email from the Texas Department of Aging & Disabilities Services saying that they have implemented a range of measures to help protect residents, including adding video cameras, requiring employees to submit to FBI fingerprinting and background checks, more training to spot signs of abuse and neglect, and that independent monitors review the facility every six months.
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