Group home facing fine after state investigation

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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GASTONIA, N.C. - Eyewitness News is learning new information about what led a teenager to run away from his Gastonia group home and allegedly beat up a 70-year-old man and steal his car.

Police said that's what Tommy McCray, 17, did in October.

Eyewitness News uncovered the group home where he was staying is facing a huge state fine.

A 34-page report from the State Division of Health Service Regulation states the group home, Dorothy's Place in Gastonia, failed to address McCray's behavioral issues.

An investigation revealed that McCray had run away before and had run away that day because he "got angry at staff for telling him to turn his radio down.” 

The report states, "No strategies were put in place to address the physically aggressive behaviors or the runaway behavior."

The state gave the group home a $5,000 fine for its violation and others and told them to make corrections. 

Eyewitness News stopped by Dorothy's Place on Thursday, but nobody answered the door.  Channel 9 also called the facility director, but the calls were not immediately returned.

State leaders said the facility has 23 days to make the changes, or it could face more fines and even lose its license.  The group home can also protest the decision, but state leaders said it hadn't as of Thursday.

The Department of Health and Human Services encouraged people with complaints about group homes to report them at a state tip line at 1-800-624-3004.

To learn about other ways to file a complaint, click here.