California senator seeks investigations of abuse of disabled people
Concerned about a wave of rapes in California facilities for the disabled and mentally ill, state Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills) has proposed mandating the immediate use of kits to collect evidence when allegations of abuse are made.
Pavley cited a report by California Watch that found 36 accusations of molestation and rape of residents by caretakers in the last four years at California's state institutions for the developmentally disabled.
But, the senator said, the Office of Protective Services, which provided police services at the five developmental centers, failed to order a single rape exam during three of the four years.
"We must put an end to the repeated sexual abuse of men and women with developmental disabilities,” Pavley said. “Residents of large institutions, like developmental centers and state hospitals, are particularly vulnerable because of their isolation and reliance on staff.”
Pavley is drafting the proposal into a bill with the help of groups including Disability Rights California, the Arc of California, United Cerebral Palsy and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault.
"We applaud Senator Pavley's leadership in introducing legislation to protect men and women with developmental disabilities in these institutions,” said Sandra Henriquez, executive director of the coalition. "We must mandate effective policies and protocols for vulnerable populations to ensure all individuals are safe and free from sexual violence."ALSO:
-- Patrick McGreevy in SacramentoPhoto: State Sen. Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). Credit: Brian Vander Brug/ Los Angeles Times