The Kentucky agency that oversees state youth centers said it has launched an investigation into allegations of abuse made by the mother of a developmentally delayed boy who was allegedly choked, scratched and teased at the same Louisville drop-in center where a 7 year old boy. he died of suffocation in July.
The investigation came weeks after Autumn Janeway filed a lawsuit against Brooklawn, a facility owned and operated by Uspiritus, alleging that her 11-year-old son, Anthony, suffered “physical and emotional abuse” during his stay since July 2021 to March 2022.
The Kentucky Cabinet of Health and Family Services said its Department of Community Services has launched an investigation into the allegations related to Anthony Janeway and that the “investigation is active at this time,” Susan Dunlap, an agency spokeswoman, said in a statement. . Monday statement.
Uspiritus said it “could not comment on specific personnel matters and the private health information of the named individuals at this time. Our focus is to care for all the children we serve. By working with the Commonwealth, we will create a new culture of care for Kentucky’s most vulnerable children.”
Janeway said she voluntarily admitted Anthony to the facility for private residential therapeutic treatment because of his attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, and because the boy was hurting himself and his younger siblings, and ran away
She said she struggled to keep Anthony, who has been in special care since he was 5, at home and was constantly anxious for his safety and that of his siblings.
“I needed help and when you take a parent like me who is desperate to get help for their child, we trust places like Brooklawn,” Janeway said.
Shortly after Anthony entered Brooklawn, Janeway said he was being hassled by staff, which she heard several times over the phone.
According to the lawsuit, Anthony told her that he had been “drowned” during a phone call in October 2021, prompting Janeway to immediately drive to the facility.
Janeway said she saw “bright red circular marks and bruises” around his neck, according to the lawsuit, as well as “other darker colored bruises” on his chest and clavicle.
“I absolutely lost it. I hit the ground. She was so excited,” Janeway said. “Not know what to do”.
According to her lawsuit, “at no time prior to” her arrival did she “give notice that her son had been injured or received medical attention for his neck injuries.”
The facility director told her the marks were the result of a restraint position her son had been placed in, according to the lawsuit, an explanation Janeway said she did not believe due to the location of his bruises.
This is not the only accusation of wrongdoing by the facility. Last month, an NBC News investigation of Brooklawn detailed allegations of wrongdoing and abuse for several years leading up to the July 17 death of Ja’Ceon Terry, a 7-year-old ward of the state who had been hosted on the premises. He died of “positional asphyxia,” according to the Jefferson County coroner’s office, which also ruled his death a homicide.
The day Ja’Ceon died, a program manager recalled being told the boy had been suffocated by two employees and he began to vomit, according to a source with knowledge of the encounter.
Two employees involved in the death have been fired, the facility said. However, no charges have been filed and police and state officials say the investigation remains open.
He shouldn’t have died on our watch. As protectors of Kentucky’s most vulnerable children, we are dedicated to making sure it never happens again. The health and safety of the Brooklawn family is always our top priority,” the company said last month.
Janeway said she wanted to call the police before seeing her son, but the director of the facility told her not to because an officer would harass the other children, according to the lawsuit. The principal, he said, assured him that Brooklawn would report the incident to the Kentucky Department of Community Services for investigation, in addition to conducting its own investigation, according to the lawsuit.
It’s unclear if the matter was reported to the state agency, which denied a public records request.
Janeway’s lawsuit alleges negligence and negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention against the facility.
“I trusted a broken system that was supposed to help my son, not hurt him, and it failed him,” she said.