Uptown Chicago Psychiatric Hospital “Called Out” After Reports of Sexual Abuse and Neglect Involving Child Patients
Although not surprised, the entire legal team at Levin & Perconti has been cringing over the recent ProPublica Illinois investigation into Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, a private psychiatric facility located in the northside of the city. The initial ProPublica findings involve both claims of sexual abuse and related disruptions grown from the ongoing neglect of young patients in the hospital’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Program. The allegations are horrific to say the least. Even so, dozens of children have bravely stepped forward and shared their personal stories of being raped and sexually abused by staff and patients, while others have been physically assaulted. Many of the hospital’s hotline complaints in just the last few months were triggered from laxed staff who created scenes of abusive sexual activity (most forced), and inappropriate or violent altercations between children and teenage patients.
Federal inspection reports in 2018, show the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has investigated 16 allegations of abuse and neglect, many sexual in nature, at the hospital between staff and child patients, and other hospital residents just this year. As the Chicago Tribune recently reported, some pending investigations include these sickening allegations:
- “A 7-year-old girl said a 12-year-old boy pulled down her pants and sexually assaulted her with a finger. At the time of the Sept. 10 incident, the girl had been hospitalized for more than two months for homicidal and suicidal behaviors. The boy, who had a history of sexual aggression, had been hospitalized for nearly three months.”
- “…two females accused a male staff member of touching them inappropriately. She said the worker kissed her and sexually assaulted her with his finger in early September. The other girl, who is 12, told a counselor the man touched her breast in late August. DCFS and Chicago police are still investigating.”
- “In April, a 15-year-old patient complained the same worker made her feel uncomfortable after he made sexually suggestive comments, including that he wanted to be her roommate. The child welfare agency determined her complaint was unfounded.”
- “The mother of an 8-year-old boy called the hotline Sept. 9 alleging her son was battered by peers, touched sexually and exposed to two masturbating roommates during the five days he was hospitalized.”
DCFS investigated and found these 2018 claims credible:
- “A 10-year-old girl complained her 11-year-old female roommate asked her to have sex and was touching other girls in their unit in a sexual manner. When questioned, the 11-year-old reported having sexual experiences at a previous hospital and at home.”
- “An April complaint was from the mother of a 17-year-old patient with intellectual and mental health issues. The boy suffered a bloody mouth and facial cuts and bruising after two staff members dragged him to his bedroom and threatened to break his arm while pinning him down on his bed, with his arms held over the bed rail, according to documents.”
- “A 12-year-old boy said he was sexually abused by an older teen. Several other patients also complained about the teenage boy, who was then sent to the juvenile detention center. DCFS found the hospital had provided inadequate supervision during the incidents.”
But because DCFS says it does not carry the authority to regulate the private psychiatric hospital which is inspected, licensed and certified by state and federal health officials, fixes to prevent these abuse and neglect situations in the first place have proven to be inadequate and continue to fail the estimated 300 DCFS child and teen patients who are treated and hospitalized at the facility each year.
Chicago Lakeshore has been at risk of losing state and federal funding over the many similar abuse and neglect allegations health officials have been lurking over – for what feels like years in a repeated fashion. State and federal inspectors have also docked the facility for the lack of patient monitoring and access to empty rooms, and failed documentation of medical history and improper medication use.
Child Patients at Psychiatric Hospitals May Not Have a Home
Chicago Lakeshore employs about 400 staff members each year, responsible for the care and treatment of an estimated 5,000 patients, a mix between adults and youth. Most of the children, some as young as 3-years-old, arrive at the hospital under state care to be treated for mental health and abuse and neglect issues at home, only to find themselves frequently stuck in the facility’s system and unnecessarily hospitalized after so-called treatment has finished simply because DCFS has nowhere else to place them. Many of these young patients are low-income children with an already traumatic history of abuse and neglect, or drug and alcohol addictions.
Since ProPublica’s report went live, and many victims have come forward to share personal attack stories, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois (ACLU) as well as several state lawmakers, became involved. The ACLU is threatening to take DCFS into court if the agency doesn’t take immediate action to ensure kids are safe by putting an immediate hold on future admissions to Chicago Lakeshore and transfer current patients to other treatment centers. Levin & Perconti applaud these many groups and lawmakers who have called for DCFS to conduct an independent investigation, as well as ProPublica for reporting the findings.
These stories are beyond sensitive and reviewed with the most delicate appreciation of others’ feelings. No patient, especially a child, should endure this type of treatment and no one should get away with allowing it to continue one day further. Our team will unremittingly follow this investigation as it proceeds to unfold.
Respected Hospital Abuse and Neglect Attorneys in Chicago
Levin & Perconti has become one of the most widely-known and respected hospital and healthcare facility abuse and neglect law firms in Illinois, achieving multiple million-dollar verdicts and settlements. If a loved one has sustained physical or emotional injury in a hospital facility, they may be entitled to compensation.
There is a time limit to file a case in Illinois, so please contact us now for a free consultation or schedule a call with one of our skilled personal injury attorneys by dialing (877) 374-1417 or (312) 332-2872.