Ripped from the Headlines


Video of Self-Advocate Silenced by School Board Goes Viral

Involuntary Sterilization

New law prohibits involuntary sterilization
Eugenics payments would be made in 2015


Judge: Jenny can live with Hampton couple


State closes bunkhouse that housed mentally retarded workers

Separated From Brother, Left to Toil Far From Home

Far below minimum wage

Feds recommend phasing out sub-minimum wage

Family Sues Over Movie Theater Death of Man with Down Syndrome

Report: States Lagging on Community Living

Senator seeks federal probe of group homes

Despite Reforms, Abuse Continues at Texas Institutions for Disabled

Neglect Stories

From the Pioneer Press/Star Tribune, March 15-16, 2011

Parents Accused of Child Neglect (Dakota County)

Burnsville police discover 7 year old son locked and barricaded by a couch in his unheated bedroom.
He was naked with feces and urine on the floor and walls.

The boy is developmentally disabled, does not speak and also had sores on his head and body. He was overmedicated with laxatives.

He would eat in his room with his hands out of a paper bag; the floor was covered by a tarp.

Delilah and David Worcester face gross misdemeanor count of child neglect.

From the Star Tribune, January 19, 2011

Charges: Mom Refused Care for Son (Ramsey County)

Christine Ruth Nelson refused to have her son receive medical treatment for a severe burn because he “doesn’t like the hospital.” More than three months after the injury doctors were forced to amputate his leg.
The son, E.J.N. is 35 years old and has developmental disabilities including autism. He cannot speak. He burned his foot on July 2 and suffered deep tissue loss. He was recommended to a burn unit. He was taken to five other clinics and Emergency Rooms over a two month period. On October 26, the wound had turned gangrenous and E.J.N. was malnourished, dehydrated and moaning in distress. His right leg was amputated up to the knee. He has a new guardian. There is mandatory reporting of neglect of a vulnerable adult, but the police were not called until November 12. The nurses and doctors did not notify authorities.

October 9, 2011

Terrifying Ride Raises Alarm Over State Care (Crow Wing County)

Graham Marshall Olson was drunk and took a man with developmental disabilities on a terrifying ride in excess of 100 miles per hour through Brainerd area. He also forgot two men with developmental disabilities at a restaurant. I could not find the charges in the news account.

Death Stories

From the Star Tribune/Pioneer Press, April 2, 2011 and May 25, 2011

Foster Dad Takes Plea Deal in Child’s Tub Death (Ramsey County)

The 18 month old girl with developmental disabilities was left unattended in 2009 while the St. Paul man helped another child, prosecutors said.
She was small for her age, had physical and developmental delays, vision impairment and had only begun to sit up on her own within the past three months.
Daniel Wright agreed to the Alford plea in the death of Brianna Rose Jackson.

He was sentenced to 6 months in a staggered sentence of 15, 30, and 45 days around the anniversary of her death for the next seven years and 10 years of probation. He was spared four years in prison called for under state sentencing guidelines.

From KSTP, August 3, 2009

Pine County Mom Accused of Starving Daughter to Death (Pine County)

Ludusky Sue Hotchkiss told police that her daughter, Lakesha Victor, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, autism, epilepsy, and was fed through a feeding tube. The daughter died from malnutrition, dehydration, and pneumonia—she had lost 34 percent of her body weight in less than four months.

The personal care attendant, Ti-heim Coston, made a deal with the mother to split the money paid for the personal care attendant, but the attendant never showed up for work. Hotchkiss was sentenced to 32 months in jail and supervised release for 16 months.

September 15 and September 30, 2011

Drowning at State Run Group Home Investigated and Group Home Caregiver Charged (Isanti County)

Devra Stiles forgot man with developmental disabilities in a bathtub and was charged with second degree manslaughter. She took a phone call and left the man. He was nonverbal and had physical disabilities.


From the Star Tribune/Pioneer Press, January 15, 2011 and April 7, 2011 and August 5, 2011

Teen with Autism Lured and Attacked (Ramsey County)

Anthony Ramos admitted his role in the robbery and beating of a 16 year old boy with autism behind a St. Paul library in December 2010.

He pleaded guilty to felony kidnapping and first-degree aggravated robbery. Tiffany Clock gets 20 years probation.

C.M. was walking to the Cub Foods in the Sun Ray Shopping Center on December 23 when he was approached by a 15 year old boy who asked him to hang out.

Two teenagers and two adults walked behind the library and demanded the boy’s money, pushed him to the ground, stole his CD player, headphones, camera, cell phone, and money. He was punched in the stomach and chest. He was handcuffed and a BB gun was fired twice at his head and upper cheek. He and his family was threatened and then he was released. “He thought the gun was a real gun and he thought he would die.”

From the Pioneer Press, February 26, 2011 and March 31, 2011

Man Admits Assaulting Disabled Woman on Bus (Ramsey County)

Herbert Lee House III pleaded guilty third degree criminal sexual conduct. He attacked a 19 year old woman with Down Syndrome while she was traveling with a school group on Route 64 bus.

He directed her to perform oral sex on him and led her off the bus but a personal attendant accompanying the group yelled to her, “Get back on the bus.”

Two teens witnessed the incident and notified police. “I would say that the victim’s attendant has some explaining to do.” (Ramsey County Attorney’s Office)

Man Charged with Second Sexual Assault (Ramsey County)

Herbert Lee House III was serving a 5 year sentence and was charged with third degree sexual assault. The second victim has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and was traveling on the same Route 64 bus when she was assaulted on the bus and then when she fled the bus, he pushed her against the wall and tried to assault her again. He stopped when a neighbor intervened.

Financial Exploitation

From the Star Tribune, August 18, 2010 and November 7, 2010

Weak Rules Govern Guardians (Aitkin County)

Judge David Ten Eyck ordered Paul and Frances Peterson to repay a total of $58,495 to three men’s estates by March 15, 2011.
The Petersons must repay “excessive and unnecessary” expenses and other alleged misspending. They also wrote out checks to themselves after the wards died, violating court orders and state law.

Some of the individuals had developmental disabilities and trusts worth six figures.

From the Star Tribune, March 13, 2011

Unfit to be Lawyer, Yet a Guardian for 200 (Rice County)

Terri Ann Hauge, charged with bilking $68,000 from 10 vulnerable adults, shows flaws in picking conservators. She controlled the state’s fourth largest portfolio of work as a guardian/conservator (Estate Resources).

From the Pioneer Press, January 10-11, 2011

Former Eagan Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing from Autistic Neighbor (Dakota County)

A former Eagan woman, Katharine Louise Rosenthal, pleaded guilty to three felonies of financial exploitation after admitting to stealing nearly $400,000 from a neighbor’s inheritance.
She said, “That’s my money.” The victim works as a janitor at a local grocery store.

She will serve a year in the Dakota County Jail, a stayed prison term of two years and nine months if she successfully completes 20 years probation, and she will be required to pay restitution and any interest lost from the money she took.