Feds announce settlement over Iowa disability center abuse

Dec 1, 2022, 1:27 PM | Updated: 1:46 pm

The U.S. Justice Department has announced a settlement with the state of Iowa to resolve allegations of abuse and inadequate care at the state-run Glenwood Resource Center, a center for people with intellectual disabilities.

A proposed consent decree announced Thursday by the DOJ would see an independent monitor appointed to assess the state’s compliance with the decree’s terms.

“People with disabilities should not be subjected to the kind of unconstitutional conditions and ill treatment that too many have experienced at Glenwood,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division said in a statement. “This agreement makes clear that the basic constitutional rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in state-run facilities must be protected.”

In 2020, the Justice Department found that the center likely violated the constitutional rights of residents by subjecting them to human experiments — including sexual arousal research — some of which were deemed dangerous. That report identified broad failures at the center, including poor treatment of residents and failure of the Iowa Department of Human Services to respond.

The DOJ began investigating in November 2019 after reports of a high rate of deaths at the center.

In 2018, 13 workers at the center quit or were fired over abuse allegations, and five of them were later sentenced to probation for mistreating residents.

The settlement, which must still be approved by a judge, would prohibit uncontrolled and unsupervised experiments on residents, require better staffing, training and oversight for clinical care, and dramatically limit the use of restraints and seclusion on residents. It also would require substantial oversight of all aspects of Glenwood’s operation and require the state to address the underlying deficiencies that led to the alleged violation of residents’ constitutional rights.

The decree also requires more public reporting and engagement with residents’ families and would require the appointment of an independent monitor who will assess the state’s compliance with the decree’s terms.

Earlier this year, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that the state plans to close the Glenwood Resource Center, which has treated vulnerable people since the early 1900s, by June 30, 2024.

Under the newly announced agreement, if more than one-third of current Glenwood residents move to, and are living at, Woodward Resource Center — the other state-run institution for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities — at any point during the decree term, then the consent decree will apply to Woodward as well.

A spokesman for the Iowa Department of Human Services, which oversees the Glenwood center, said Thursday that the agency planned to release a statement regarding the agreement later in the day.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Arizona will not approve new housing construction on the fast-growing edges of metro Phoenix that r...

Associated Press

Arizona Senate passes plan to manage rural groundwater, but final success is uncertain

A plan to manage rural groundwater passed the Arizona Senate amid concerns about the availability of sufficient water for future generations.

2 days ago

A woman pauses while shopping at a Kohl's store in Clifton, N.J., Jan. 26, 2024. On Thursday, Feb. ...

Associated Press

Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge picked up last month in sign of still-elevated prices

An inflation gauge favored by the Federal Reserve increased in January, the latest sign that the slowdown in U.S. consumer price increases is occurring unevenly from month to month.

2 days ago

This undated image provided by Mikel Desmond shows his brother Marcus Tessier, who turned up in Dem...

Associated Press

Missing teen with autism found in New Mexico, about 200 miles away from his Arizona home

A missing teen with autism has been found in New Mexico — about 200 miles away from his home in southern Arizona.

3 days ago

A newly released report on last year’s fatal crash involving a pickup truck and a group of bicycl...

Associated Press

Report suggests steering of vehicle that caused fatal Goodyear bicycle crash worked fine

A new report on last year’s fatal Goodyear bicycle crash has cast doubts about the driver’s claim the vehicle’s steering locked up.

3 days ago

Israeli Embassy...

Associated Press

US airman dies after setting himself ablaze outside Israeli Embassy in Israel-Hamas war protest

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after he set himself ablaze outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C.

5 days ago

Biden and Trump to visit Mexico border Thursday immigration...

Associated Press

Biden and Trump both plan trips to the Mexico border Thursday, dueling for advantage on immigration

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will make dueling trips to the U.S-Mexico border on Thursday.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.


Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

Feds announce settlement over Iowa disability center abuse