Investigators document abuse at Pueblo Regional Center for disabled

Posted at 6:26 AM, Sep 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-28 20:32:50-04

PUEBLO, Colo. -- A federal report has uncovered several cases of alleged abuses at a Pueblo center for people with severe intellectual disabilities.

Federal investigators found one resident performed a sexual act in exchange for a soda and another was burned with a blow dryer to raise her body temperature. According to the report,  several other residents had words scratched into their skin, which staffers blamed on "paranormal activity."

The alleged abuse at the Pueblo Regional Center occurred before November 2015.

But as recently as April, federal investigators found safety protocols still lacking and "serious incidents" still occurring.

"It's very upsetting to read about this, to think that these are people who are dependent upon the state for their care," said Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.

Federal investigators have asked the state to repay millions of dollars in Medicaid funding that supported the center. The state is considering an appeal, according to a spokesperson with the Colorado Department of Human Services.

State officials say they've been monitoring the center and that staff has been retrained. CDHS released the following statement:

We are confident that all of the changes that PRC has made since the uncovering of abuse and neglect will result in a better environment for both our staff and our regional center residents. We have made a lot of progress in regional center operations and we look forward to working with our state and federal partners to continue our improvement efforts.


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.