Sunday, March 16, 2008

Oregonian investigates caregiver abuse of disabled adults

The March 16 story in The Oregonian follows up its 2007 investigation of caregiver abuse in Oregon's 1,100 group and foster homes that serve about 4,600 developmentally disabled adults. In that investigation they found "that between 2000 and 2006, more than 2,000 were victims of abuse by caregivers, ranging from neglect of medical needs to rape, beatings, thefts, verbal abuse or improper restraint."

The recent story focuses on Johnny Beckhardt, 28, who has been in a national ad campaign about his work at Goodwill Industries, and his father, Lyle "Butch" Beckhardt, who also appears in the TV ads. The kinds of things that have happened to Johnny are truly sickening and the point of the story is that Johnny has an involved and concerned parent who is in constant touch with him and still he was abused multiple times.

"Caregivers took financial advantage of him," according to The Oregonian. "A medical emergency nearly killed him. Most recently, officials moved Johnny from a Dallas (Oregon) group home after he reported what investigators feared was physical and sexual abuse." Also, one of Johnny's caregivers was arrested on drug charges.

Kudos to The Oregonian for continuing to cover the story. Too many times the news media don't follow up as much as they should after an investigation.