Do you remember this story? I swear, this is the crap that keeps me up at night. There is this group of slimeballs, 5 of them. They some got a hold of many individuals with intellectual disabilities and did atrocious things to them–forced slavery, beat them, drugged them, starved them, stole their SS money, forced them into prostitution and moved them all around the country to avoid being caught. It was never clear to me exactly how the criminals became introduced to the people with disabilities.
They were finally discovered in the Tacony section of Philadelphia in 2011. Today the city of Philadelphia dropped it’s charges against them so that a Federal case can move forward. This abuse went on for over 10 years before they were discovered. Two individuals with mental disabilities died as a direct result of their actions. It honestly is the type of stuff that truly tests my strength and my resolve in being very anti-death-penalty. I can’t imagine a punishment severe enough for this; life in prison just isn’t enough. But to me, killing them makes us no better than them either.
You can read all the various updates and accounts to this terrible story over at NBC10.
What you can do to prevent this type of abuse:
Have a legally sound and very specific plan/trust for your loved one with disabilities.
Make sure everyone in your family and circle of friends, and agencies, are aware of your plans.
Stay friendly and congenial with all of your neighbors, so that everyone around you knows what “normal” looks like around your household and you know what is normal for them.
If you see anything suspicious, what looks like an unofficial group home, anything of the sort–report it. Go with your gut, better safe than sorry.
The Arc of the Greater Twin Cities has an excellent resource guide on Disability Abuse Prevention, if you need more information.