CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – At least 40 employees were fired or resigned over abuse or neglect allegations at a state-run school where some workers are accused of forcing the mentally and developmentally disabled residents into fights, a newspaper found.
The analysis by The Dallas Morning News found that 22 other workers at the Corpus Christi State School were suspended without pay in the last four years.
State officials have said the forced fights were perpetuated by a handful of undersupervised night shift workers. The newspaper found most of the abuse and neglect incidents that resulted in the firings, resignations and suspensions happened during day shifts.
In 2007, an employee found a female resident hanged in her bedroom but did not try to help her, "potentially reducing her chance of survival," according to a letter outlining findings in the case. It's the only known case in which abuse or neglect contributed to a patient's death.
Other cases the newspaper uncovered in a review of termination records include a worker who used a belt to whip a resident on the face and mouth and an employee who was fired for beating a resident with a walking cane.
In the separate investigation of the forced fights, five former workers pleaded not guilty Tuesday to felony charges of injury to a disabled person, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported. A sixth defendant is scheduled to be arraigned May 29.
The six were charged in March after police identified them in videos of the fights recorded on a cell phone from late 2007 to early this year.