• Group investigating abuse, neglect allegations at Morganton care center

    By: Dave Faherty

    Updated:

    MORGANTON, N.C. - A federally-mandated advocacy and protection group is looking into allegations of abuse and neglect at a state-run facility in Morganton that cares for the disabled.

    Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty spoke with families at the J Iverson Riddle Developmental Center about the allegations and the work of the nearly 1,000 state employees who care for more than 280 disabled residents.

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    The state said eight employees were fired after officials received reports of misconduct at one of the cottages at J Iverson Riddle.

    The Human Rights Advisory Council at J Iverson Riddle has reviewed some of the allegations involving the eight employees.

    [Family wants answers after man with disabilities allegedly injured at Morganton care center]

    The Department of Health and Human Services said those workers were fired for conduct that was unacceptable.

    Disability Rights of North Carolina confirmed to Channel 9 that they are also looking into the allegations.

    "I would say abuse, neglect and exploration,” said Kristine Sullivan, with Disability Rights of North Carolina. “We haven't ruled anything out. Certainly, we want to investigate as quickly as possible to make sure folks are safe."

    DHHS officials said it was other workers who first came forward about "unprofessional conduct" by the eight employees.

    The state said their investigation found that none of the disabled residents received any injuries, but the conduct was "unacceptable.” 

    Louise Wilson's daughter has been at J Iverson Riddle for 50 years.

    She, along with other parents who sit on the Human Rights Council that meets every month to discuss problems, spoke highly of the care workers. 

    "The best that can be because she is happy healthy and well cared for,” Wilson said.

    "Our son has been here for almost 20 years, and I've never seen anything other than great care, great respect for him and for me,” mother Karen Porter said.

    Disability Rights of North Carolina said they do work with local law enforcement and, if necessary, are prepared to turn over their findings once their investigation is completed. 

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