Search This Blog

Friday, July 22, 2022

Indictments in California Restraint Case

In The Politics of Autismdiscuss the use of restraint and seclusionMany posts have mentioned these techniques, both in schools and facilities for people with disabilities.

Press-Democrat (Santa Rosa CA):
A private school in Northern California and three of its staffers have been charged for involuntary manslaughter in the 2018 death of a 13-year-old autistic student, who died after being restrained for almost two hours for allegedly spitting at a classmate.

A recently convened special criminal grand jury indicted Guiding Hands, a now-closed school for students with special needs in the Sacramento suburb of El Dorado Hills, its former principal Starrane Meyers, teacher Kimberly Wohlwend and site administrator Cindy Keller, the Sacramento Bee reported Thursday.

Each was indicted on a charge of involuntary manslaughter, El Dorado County District Attorney Office spokeswoman Savannah Broddrick said.

The indictments, which remain sealed, come almost three years after county prosecutors filed manslaughter charges against the defendants in November 2019. The three educators each entered a not guilty plea at an initial arraignment that month, and then the case dragged on in court as the two sides discussed a plea deal and the defendants changed attorneys, according to the Bee and prosecutors.

“If a case isn’t moving, we can do a criminal grand jury to move it along,” said Broddrick.

Wohlwend is accused of holding 13-year-old Max Benson in a restraint position for more than one hour and 45-minutes, as other staffers allegedly helped carry out a “take down maneuver” and held down his legs, according to a separate civil lawsuit filed by the boy’s family.