Former Options Unlimited employee speaks out - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Former Options Unlimited employee speaks out

EAST HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

A former employee of Options Unlimited, which owns the group home in East Hartford that's at the center of abuse allegations, is speaking out about how he witnessed and reported abuse in the two years he worked there.

He said he worked for Options Unlimited, which is based in Bloomfield, from 2008 to 2010, and said he left the company because he regularly saw neglect.

"They were in the same clothes every day," Donnie Swan said. "The staff ignored them."

Swan said he wasn't surprised when Eyewitness News showed the video on Wednesday that shows a woman repeatedly beating a patient with a belt, kicking a patient in the stomach and dragging a woman away by her hair.

He said he often saw and reported abuse.

"Nothing was done; it was swept under the rug," Swan said.

The staff member on tape is currently suspended without pay and will likely face charges.

The Department of Developmental Services oversees group homes statewide and a spokeswoman said the state put a freeze on admissions for the six homes owned by Options Unlimited and put the homes under enhanced monitoring - a process that includes assessing clients for signs for abuse.

DDS responded specifically to the new allegations and said, "The message is clear. Abuse of any kind will not be tolerated and must be reported.

A DDS spokeswoman said any employee at any group home in the state can call police at any time if they feel someone is being abused.

To report abuse or neglect you can call:

  • The Department of Children and Families at 1-800-842-2288 (under 17)
  • The Office of Protection and Advocacy 1-800-842-7303 (18-59) 
  • The Department of Social Services by dialing the InfoLine at 211 (60 or over)

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