Lawmakers seek task force to look at rampant abuse at psychiatri - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmakers seek task force to look at rampant abuse at psychiatric hospital

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Nine of the 10 people arrested for suspected abuse at the Connecticut Valley Hospital during previous court appearances. (WFSB) Nine of the 10 people arrested for suspected abuse at the Connecticut Valley Hospital during previous court appearances. (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Abuse at the state's psychiatric hospital has prompted lawmakers to push for more scrutiny.

A bill now before the Public Health Committee would create a task force to look at rampant abuse after 10 staff members were fired and criminally charged, and 37 were put on leave.

This was something that caught people by surprise but the abuse has been going on at Whiting Forensic for a while.

The brother of a man abused shared his story to bring about change.

This is now the second time Al Shehadi is going to testify before lawmakers.

His brother Bill was committed to Whiting Forensic over 20 years ago for killing his father. He is also at the center of a disturbing scandal at the state's psychiatric hospital for the criminally insane.

A whistleblower brought to light videotaped incidents where Al Shehadi says his brother was tormented, kicked, pushed, and made to eat food off the floor.

This was back in November when Al described the cruel things that were done to his brother. He doesn't believe these were isolated incidents and is now suing the state.

Kathy Flaherty from the CT Legal Right's Project has seen the video. She said, "when someone is that vulnerable and see that happen to him and to know the only reason it came to light was because of a very brave whistleblower is stunning."

Legislation would set up a task force, investigate what took place, and require stricter standards going forward such as mandated reporting.

"We feel very strongly that yes Whiting should be regulated as a hospital. The Department of Public Health would have oversight, there is not oversight really at this point,” said Democratic State Senator Terry Gerratana.

The task force would also look at protection for victims of abuse and more protection for those who are willing to come forward.

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