AUSTIN, Texas – Nine employees are under investigation over allegations of new fights among mentally disabled residents of the troubled Corpus Christi State School, a state lawmaker said Saturday night.
State Rep. Abel Herrero said the workers are on leave while officials look into complaints that the staff members did nothing to intervene in the fights involving residents Wednesday and Thursday.
The new allegations follow six staffers being charged earlier this month with injury to a disabled person over separate fights allegedly organized for the staff's entertainment. Videos of those fights were found on a cell phone.
"Appalling," said Herrero, a Corpus Christi-area Democrat. "Completely unacceptable. It's important that the state exhaust every resource to once and for all ensure the safety and well-being of our state's most vulnerable population."
Herrero had few details involving the new incidents but said one of them involved accusations against six staff members and the other involved three workers. At least one of the incidents was reported in a phone call to state investigators. The workers were accused of having been nearby when fights occurred but not intervening.
Jay Kimbrough, chief of staff for Gov. Rick Perry's office, told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that the recent incidents don't include allegations that fights were encouraged by employees.
On Friday, video of the earlier fights were shown at a Corpus Christi bond hearing for a former employee accused of staging the bouts. State officials, local police and the FBI are investigating the allegations of staged fights.
The videos from Timothy Dixon's cell phone included two residents repeatedly punching each other while staff members cheered. The residents tried to choke each other before one threw the other to the floor. An employee then kicked the resident on the floor.
Dixon, 30, is among six facing charges of injury to a disabled person.
Four of the six current and former employees have been arrested. Two others were believed to have moved out of state before the investigation, police said.
Herrero said Friday that at least two staff members were being investigated over the new fight allegations.