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Ongoing investigation into Sequel facilities; admissions still suspended at Owens Cross Rds. facility

Updated: Aug. 20, 2020 at 10:44 PM CDT
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OWENS CROSS ROADS, Ala. (WAFF) - An abused child who is suffering from mental health issues would be best off in a therapeutic and healthy environment, right?

Well a scathing report alleges psychiatric treatment facilities run by Sequel are quite the opposite. There’s four here in Alabama: Courtland, Montgomery, Tuskegee and Owens Cross Roads.

A state agency wants them all shut down. We first told you about it back in July.

Attempting to kill yourself and being told to try again or, being slammed onto the ground, while someone put their knee on your back so hard that it becomes difficult to breathe. This is only a small sample of the encounters with staff members that girls at the Owens Cross Roads facility reported to investigators with the Alabama Disability Advocacy Program.

“Report after report unfortunately of aggressive, disrespectful, demeaning, belittling treatment. You don’t fix that overnight,” Nancy Anderson, Associate Director said.

Unfortunately there are similar shocking stories of verbal and physical abuse reported at three other Sequel facilities in Alabama.

“I don’t think anyone who would walk into one of those facilities would say, ‘yeah I want my kids here.’ No. nobody is going to say that,” Anderson said.

Officials told WAFF that the Department of Mental Health and Department of Human Resources, the agencies that license these Sequel facilities, are now doing an investigation of their own.

“I would like to see them wrapped up a lot sooner rather than later at this point. Given that it’s been over a month since we’ve submitted that report,” Anderson said.

Anderson also mentioned that she wants to see all of the facilities shut down.

“These children are living in untherapeutic conditions and they are living in frankly physically abysmal conditions.”

DHR said they’ve made unannounced visits and found changes, but didn’t say what.

You may remember the ADAP report mentioned finding blood on the walls and feces where children slept.

Photo shows feces in child's pillow
Photo shows feces in child's pillow(Alabama Disability Advocacy Program)

Anderson said those changes only amount to cleaning, but does nothing to address the abuse to children.

“Any changes that have been made, have been the low hanging fruit kind of changes. These children should be moved to better, therapeutic environment so their needs can be met,” Anderson said.

We want to know how Sequel is working to fix the problem. WAFF reached out to the corporate office and is waiting to hear back

Follow along for updates.

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