A Chicago Tribune investigation has uncovered at least eighteen case of reported rape or childhood sexual abuse at Chicago area psychiatric hospitals and facilities since July of 2008. The study determined that the alarmingly high number of abuse cases was due in part to facility failure in properly supervising patients and also failing to report many abuse cases to the authorities. The Chicago area sexual abuse victims were youths with serious mental illnesses housed at state funded institutions. Some of the victims were as young as seven years old. Of the eighteen cases of abuse uncovered by the investigation, all but four of the children were wards of the state.
Many critics are pointing the finger at Illinois DCFS and the Illinois Department of Health, which is responsible for the licensing and inspection of medical facilities in the State of Illinois, for the staggering amount of abuse. These agencies have claimed that their ability to effectively protect youth patients is seriously hampered by weak laws and insufficient funding. There has been no state action taken against any of the half dozen psychiatric hospitals where the bulk of the abuse has reportedly occurred.
One of those institutions, Chicago Lake Shore Hospital, has had three reports of sexual assault and abuse. One of these incidents involved the rape of a 15 year old girl by three male patients while another saw the abuse of an 11 year old boy by two male patients in a bathroom that was supposed to have been locked and supervised by staff. The Tribune investigation was based upon police reports, public health records, DCFS documents and court files.
Institutional sexual abuse is a problem that can be prevented if proper steps are taken. If you or someone you know has been the victim of institutional sexual abuse, you should contact a Chicago sexual abuse attorney to discuss your case. The Klest Law Firm has over twenty eight years of experience handling sexual abuse cases in Illinois. To speak with an attorney, please click here.