GLENWOOD, Iowa – The Iowa Department of Public Safety is now part of an investigation into claims that the residents of the Glenwood Resource Center, which treats intellectually and physically disabled Iowans including children, were subject to human experiments.
A spokesperson for the Iowa Department of Human Services issued a statement Tuesday about the inclusion of the DPS in the investigation:
“On Friday, Director Garcia requested support from the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to assist in reviewing additional allegations made in the course of her fact-finding efforts. The Department of Human Services (DHS) will continue to be transparent and provide updates as this unfolds, being careful not to jeopardize any aspect of the investigation. Additionally, DHS is working with Glenwood Resource Center (GRC) Parent Family Group to arrange a town hall to hear from, and speak directly with, families.”
The U.S. Department of Justice is already investigating. The DOJ sent a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds on November 21st. It states that investigators are looking into “harmful and uncontrolled human subject experiments.” DHS says the focus is on “sexual arousal” and “optimal hydration” studies allegedly performed on Glenwood residents.
The DOJ is also concerned about “inadequate medical, nursing … and behavioral health care, harmful restraint practices and incidents of needless physical injury.”
Glenwood’s Superintendent, Jerry Rea, has been placed on paid administrative leave because of the allegations.
Gov. Reynolds says the state is cooperating in the investigation and, “It is not acceptable, it is not adequate and we are making changes.”
Reynolds said she believes Director Garcia is doing great work so far.
“We are working with the DOJ doing everything that we can first of all to make sure that the residents are getting the care that they need and that they are being taken care of so that remains the top priority. And then you know just looking at policies and procedures and reviewing what some of the feedback has been from some of the personnel that has been there. So we are going to continue to try to be– there’s some information that is protected– but try to be transparent and open and I think Director Garcia has done a good job in doing that,” Reynolds said.
Iowa Representative John Forbes, D-Urbandale, said he wants to see more on this investigation soon.
“Well, I’m hopeful that Director Garcia will take this very seriously which I think she is and making sure that we get to the bottom of what is really the problem and why are these things if they are allegations why are they happening and how we as a legislature can make sure that we ensure the safety of the patients at these facilities her in the state of Iowa,” Rep. Forbes said.
Forbes said House Democrats tried to look into state-run facilities during the last legislative session.
“Iowa House Democrats put forth an amendment to our budget bill that would have created an interim study committee where legislators would have had the opportunity to actually go and visit the facilities and see what’s going on unfortunately the republican controlled house voted down that bill,” Forbes said.