Target: Terri Delgadillo, Director of the Department of Developmental Services of California
Goal: To bring disabled victims’ attackers to justice, discipline officers involved in sexual assault cases, and adequately investigate any future allegations regarding the mistreatment of disabled individuals.
Police have repeatedly failed to adequately investigate 36 cases of sexual assault reported by developmentally disabled residents of California care centers. Reports from 2009 to 2012 indicate that residents at the developmental centers have suffered molestation and rape at the hands of their caretakers. Yet the Office of Protective Services, the department in charge of handling such cases, failed to conduct basic routine procedures to collect evidence against the alleged attackers. Because of the gross oversight of California police, the perpetrators have gone unpunished, sexual abuse has continued throughout the care centers, and one victim even became pregnant as a result of rape.
That victim’s name is Jennifer. Jennifer accused an employee of violent molestation, but detectives took no investigative action because evidence relied on the word of a woman with developmental disabilities. Jennifer’s parents are now raising her son because she is unable to care for him by herself. Because officers did not take appropriate action, her attacker has disappeared.
Records show that police had indisputable evidence that patients, mostly women, were repeatedly assaulted; victims suffered vaginal lacerations, bruises on their breasts, and other evidence of molestation. Police, however, never once conducted routine medical examinations such as using a “rape kit” to gather physical evidence. Instead, they chose to simply ignore the allegations of the developmentally disabled patients.
Studies show that 80 percent of women who are developmentally disabled are sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. Sign the petition below to demand that the victims’ attackers be brought to justice and the Office of Protective Services be reprimanded for their failure to protect members of this vulnerable population.
Dear Terri Delgadillo,
The failure of your department’s officers to adequately investigate the sexual assault allegations of disabled patients is appalling. It is their duty as police officers to serve and protect, and it is the responsibility of your office to handle the affairs at the care centers seriously. Instead, all of these duties have been abandoned, the trust of the patients has been betrayed, and the attackers have gone free.
Because your police officers ignored the allegations and never once collected physical evidence, dozens of victims will never receive justice for the crimes perpetrated against them. Repeatedly failing to carry out these duties has allowed the assailants to abuse their victims multiple times, and now they are free to harm others in the future. The victims’ families are left to deal with feelings of helplessness and anger, unable to protect their loved ones.
This blatant disregard for the wellbeing of disabled individuals is detestable and disgusting. We demand that you bring the victims’ perpetrators to justice, discipline those officers involved in these sexual assault cases, and adequately investigate any future allegations regarding the mistreatment of disabled individuals.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: sakhorn38 via FreeDigitalPhotos