The Oklahoma Department of Human Services continued to refer clients to a troubled center for people with developmental disabilities in Enid for months after reports of abuse first surfaced.
The Frontier’s reporting found that a former staff member at the Robert M.Greer Center said coworkers retaliated against her after she reported the allegations. In November, police arrested six individuals on charges of conspiracy and caretaker abuse at the center. The center’s administrator has also resigned.
Below are five key takeaways from The Frontier’s reporting:
- After reporting abuse at the Greer Center, a former staffer found flyers of herself around Enid suggesting she was available for sexual encounters. The flyers had her photo and phone number. She filed protective orders against four coworkers at the Greer Center, and told the court they had retaliated against her for reporting the abuse.
- The Enid Police Department started its own investigation into the Greer Center in June, when a detective learned that the Department of Human Services had already tried to investigate reports of abuse, but had not been able to verify the allegations.
- The Department of Human Services said it didn’t know various incidents of abuse were connected until late October. The agency didn’t halt new admissions to the facility until Nov. 16, two days after the first arrests were made and five months after systemic abuse was first reported to police.
- Investigating and prosecuting allegations of abuse can be difficult because some victims might be nonverbal. Courts may not view people with developmental disabilities as reliable sources, meaning abuse may not be prosecuted unless there are witnesses or cameras to back up allegations.
- The Department of Human Services said it isn’t planning to shut down the Greer Center or end a contract with the private company that manages the facility. The Greer Center is the only facility of its kind in the state.