Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Eric Roberts - 1996

When the staff used a rather unusual method to restraint 16 year old Eric Roberts they may not have foreseen that they soon would be out of job. They wrapped him in plastic and a foam blanket with Velcro and left him for an hour only to find him dead when they returned.

It was neglect and the state intervened. Odyssey Harbor - the treatment home where he died filed for chapter 11 and had to close.

But just because the authorities cleaned up after this tragedy, it doesn't change the fact that a family lost their son. A life of a boy ended too soon.

May he rest in peace.

Sources:

56 comments:

  1. I was at Odyssey Harbor when the young man lost his life. What the stories don't tell is that we took him after a state psychiatric hospital kicked him out because they were afraid to work with him. No one else would take him. The night of his death he began screaming and fighting and was restrained. During the restraint he stopped breathing suddenly. The staff in charge began CPR and he was breathing on his own when he left via ambulance for the hospital. When our staff caseworker arrived at the hospital she found him lying dead on a gurney with his stomach badly distended. It appeared he was intubated incorrectly. An ER staff member was overheard saying, "We're not going down for this one." The closing of OH was more about politics than it was about Eric's death. We had 176 kids at the time and the state had decided to reduce the number of kids it had in Residential Treatment by 2 or 3 hundred. By closing OH, they took care of more than half that number in one stroke. Also, my boss had testified before the state legislature that we needed to consolidate the 22 agencies that dealt with kids into a single portal of entry. This was very unpopular with the bureaucrats that ran those little fiefdoms and they were looking for payback. She had given this same testimony 10 years before at a sunset commission and we were closed immediately afterward. This is not likely a coincidence.

    The incident in question provided the state officials an opportunity to close us despite the fact that at the time we had the highest positive outcomes rate of any RTC in the state and were taking kids nobody else would touch. Working with kids like these is dangerous. You take a risk when you take them in, but I know the people that ran Odyssey Harbor and the staff who took care of those kids. The loss of that child hurt us all deeply. We loved those kids like our own. Many of them still contact us today and call us "the only family they ever had." Eric should have been in a high level psychiatric facility where he could get highly specialized care. But no one wanted him because they couldn't get the funding they wanted. We did try when no one else would. Odyssey Harbor was not the villain in this case. No one was prosecuted. We were just pushed quietly aside and closed in order to cover up a mess the medical community and the government didn't want anyone to look too deeply at. The family was highly litigious and had threatened to sue the state hospital shortly before the state set him out on the driveway and told his family to come get him. They did not successfully sue the center. That tells you something. I thought you should know that. I care very much about the people that worked at Odyssey Harbor. They were good, kind Christian people and they loved those kids.

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    1. Okay. So the last time I responded to your post I was rather short. I didn't explain myself fully. I will try this again, and I will attempt to be more thorough and concise in this comment.
      First of all, there is quite a bit of your post that is hearsay and supposition. You are unable to provide any evidence whatsoever as to what ANYONE purportedly said, did, wrote, etc. The fact that there was a half assed coverup is beyond a doubt, but one fact remains. Your facility was hired and paid for by the people who enslaved us. You are no less guilty than they are. You are a former employee of a facility that was bought and paid for by the state of Texas in order to profit from our suffering.
      It doesn't matter what facility he came from, how difficult he was to deal with, or wether or not he was intubated incorrectly. The simple fact is that your facilities staff member restrained him. Incorrectly. And he stopped breathing because of you guys. NOT the ER staff. You restrained him, he stopped breathing (who knows for how long), and he was carried by ambulance to the ER. Because of Odyssey Harbor, NOT because of the ER staff.
      Next lets deal with the little matter of claims of political reasons for Odyssey Harbor's closure and subsequent investigation. There were numerous agencies who operated within the sphere of state run facilities that had much larger numbers of children in their care. Boys and Girls Town, Buckner, Pegasus Schools, Texas Youth Commision, San Marcos Treatment Center, etc. None of these locations were shut down, and they continue to operate to this day.
      The success rate and statistical data makes absolutely no difference. It was probably doctored. OH had access to all paperwork, reports, psychological data, and any other pertinent doccumentation. This is rather a self fulfilling claim.
      Was the state of Texas partially responsible for what occured? OF COURSE they were. They placed us there, they ignored our complaints, pleas, and injuries, they swept it under the rug, and they tried as hard as possible to push the investigation through the court system. They screwed us, and they knew it. Your facility knew it. Our families knew it. We knew it.
      Oh, and it being dangerous to work with children with our treatment history? I find it offensive. I was one of those high risk children, and I know for a fact that I deserve the title. I set the record for being booterd from facilities. I was barred from public school. I was charged as an adult by the state of Texas for assaulting a staff member at Odyssey Harbor. I know how afraid the rest of the children were because I was part of the reason they were afraid. I was a douche, and I know that only about 10% of us deserved the title. The rest were victims. Total bystanders, products of a flawed system.
      I mean, come on. How can you say that it was difficult to work with people who were mentally retarded, autistic, had cerebral palsy, learning dissabilities, etc? WE WERE DISABLED AND YOU PHYSICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY ABUSED US!!! You brainwashed us. You forced us to eat a nearly vegetarian 7th Day Adventist diet, then quickly switched us to meat for "surprise" inspection days. How did the facility always know? I was almost drowned at the 67 campus an no one cared.
      You had a teenager named Brian Drake there. He had been accused of rape several times over the span of 3 years. Nothing was done about it. FOR 3 YEARS!!! Numerous rape reports, numerous accusations of sexual misconduct.
      You even said it yourself. "No one was prosecuted. We were just pushed quietly aside and closed in order to cover up a mess the medical community and the government didn't want anyone to look too deeply at." Was it in any way your facilities fault that they wanted to cover it up? You had every chance to fix this. You never did. And instead of trying to get a hold of all of your old contacts from that flawed system and making an attempt to make things right, you distanced yourselves from us. You are still refusing to correct this.

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    2. I was there in late 90s fuckin sucked as no candy no meat,bs staff sucked except mr.will and mr. James and accurse MS.YETTIE

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    3. I don't believe this man i know they were rough with us even rolled us up in the blanket and lay there fat butt on us so Tom King stop lying to everyone that's why they closed down best thing that could happen

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    4. They were rough and some of them just picked on you. I remember one black staff member telling his head as a white staff member just picked on me that made me feel so low I don't hate this place it made me stronger

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    5. First of all this is a lie because I was one of the kids that was there y'all tortured us you think you were doing good in the name of Health y'all are bad people y'all should have been the one that got put to death I don't know how y'all stayed open that long but y'all were just a Colt trying to run kids that's all you were remember they do

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  5. Eric Roberts was a childhood friend of mine. I was 11 when we first met at S.A.S.H. He was like any other small child these days that lacked the love and care of adults rambunctious and acted out but at that time we all did throughout the years we sorta grew a bond always being readmitted to the state hospital like a revolving door of the corrupt child psychiatric treatment centers of the day (late 80'-90's) he was alot smaller then most children his age and quite timid from the abuse inflicted on him at the hands of staff and caregivers I remember when they transferred him to OH since I had been admitted to OH a few years earlier I feared for him and acted out the days preceeding his transfer we had a close bond and sat next to each other during most dinners and dayroom time in the adolescent unit of S.A.S.H. During our many stays together. We saw the news broadcast where he spoke out against san Antonio state hospitals abuse the year before his death at OH. OH did not care for the patients as stated by the first commenter they had harsh and abusive treatment practices and I swear not just Eric Died in their care.. But we will never know. Mr Doug you sir are a liar you nor the staff cared about a single one of us that were admitted to OH! If you did then why would you come over a decade later to defend yourself with obvious lies.Eric was killed at the hands of you and your fellow abusive coworkers. Please keep you ignorant lies to yourself I wish I could find Eric's parents these days to tell them exactly how the adults they entrusted their sons care to treated him.. Eric Roberts was a son a FRIEND and a little boy who wanted love and care.. I love you Eric lil buddy you will always be my Gilligan!! RIP Eric lil buddy Roberts!

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  6. I agree with you both Stephanie and T.Pickens..The staff use to SLAM the kids.. Im talking arms crossed and feet in the air...Head first into the ground. The first time I saw that, I was scared shitless!! There have been at least 2. occasions where I literally screamed to the staff that I couldn't breathe.. One time I damn near passed out.. The anger still swells inside of me as I think of the feeling of helplessness and death I felt. My arm was also broken in that place.. No one took responsibility for the incident.. R.I.P. to the other kids that lost their life in that place.. And bless the souls who left there with permenant scars..Tbone....

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    1. I lived there as well I hated there

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    2. I lived there as well I hated it all the things they put us thru im glad they closed odyssey harbor

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    3. I lived there from 89 to 93 and all you say is true tbone I remember you I hope your doing well there were more that died there Dawn Perry and Melvin Jackson R.i.p to them to I remember getting restrained and couldn't breath but there were staff that did care v
      Ivky Frank and pamala neal and miss leaona Jackson they did make me a better person but I'm glad they closed it down oh and Washington and miss Ozzy thank you guys that place scared me straight

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    4. I remember T-bone as well I now paint for a living and so do my girls Mr.Sleepy Reed had a big impact on my life for the painting part as an abused kid it helped me out alot

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  7. I had a son in there. He also was mistreated and raped while in the custody of OH. He was brought back to Houston because he was being abused by some of the staff. He wasn't born they way he is today needing mental medication. I know because doctors would have told me if something went wrong or was wrong with my son. We're still trying to get him out of the CPS custody. He is 33 years old.

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  8. I also lived there. Crazy stuff. But all the homes were dumb. I'm glad they closed!!!!!!😡😡😡😡😡

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  9. I lived there in the late 80s and the place took my childhood.

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  10. I was a child at Odyssey Harbor staff slap me on my face Rodney in the seclusion room plenty of times walk this with wrist restraints I remember a friend of mine Melvin Jackson was killed as the staff told him it was okay to go a while and he walk through the woods got hit by a car

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    1. I heard about that. They didn't count it because they said he ran away and they were supposedly absolved of guilt.

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    2. I remember the seclusion room and wrist restraints the straight jackets the prns the soy bean food we were treated as animals instead of ppl

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    3. All so true I was there then to my name is Angela slocume I was there in the year 89_93 four years of hell almost

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    4. Hay Angela how you doing remember me Diana we were in the same home there omg its been some years huh

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    5. Hey Angela I remember u find me on Facebook rhonda david

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    6. I worked there from 91-96 with the teen girls. I cared deeply for those girls and always treated them as if they were my kids. Several of them told me I was like a month them. I often spent my own money to make sure they had things they wanted.

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  11. Yeah the velcro blanket they call that the hot blanket I was left outside one time on the basketball court for hours sitting in the hot blanket I do know what you're talking about

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    1. I remember it being called the "Whammy" and the "Blue Burrito", but yes, it probably had many names.

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  12. Yeah the velcro blanket they call that the hot blanket I was left outside one time on the basketball court for hours sitting in the hot blanket I do know what you're talking about

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  13. I was in oh they turned me into a fighter I was considered a loose cannon I was physically mentally and sexually abused in oh but you never hear about that. That place was hell literally hell most kids there never stood a chance I was almost consistently restrained and put in the whammy they broke my arm and turned me into a weapon

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    1. I am sorry you had to go through that. I totally believe you.

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  15. My name is Joshua Benjamin,I was their from 89 to 96,I was at 67,the hill and Rebecca bollinger house,that place was hell period,I remember the blue whammy ,and I remember 7 children where killed,all due to incorrect restraint ,not to mention how many children were raped,that place hardened me and I will never forget what I had to go through,I am sorry Eric Robert's and Daniel y'all had issues but we're done completely wrong at the hands of the staff and workers

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    1. I'm looking for my Daniel Williams he was there around that time we lost contact because I got adopted now im looking for him

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    2. Do you remember his name? I could try to find him for you. My email is selsharesthan@gmail.com

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  16. Melvin Jackson was a friend of mine in the orphanage. What a lot of you were not told is that the very reason that Melvin ran away was because he was being bullied by one of the counselors. Melvin was afraid to catch balls and the counselor would get angry because Melvin couldn't catch a basketball so the day that Melvin ran away the counselor had thrown the basketball in his face and said that he would stop once Melvin grew some balls and learned to f****** catch.

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    1. The day after Melvin Jackson's death we'd gotten up and went to the orphanage classrooms they came and pulled us out one by one and I remember that day very well. They pulled me out of class and said they needed to tell me something but they wanted to give me a shot of Vistaril to dope me up so I couldn't feel. After they gave me the shot that was when they told me that my very best friend had gotten hit by pickup truck. The fact of the matter is the old man that hit him did so deliberately and two days after the incident they found the Hood from the man's truck in a hotel swimming pool where he had lied. This is the truth and straight-up fact about Melvin's death I was still there at the time. Heck they got so mad at me one time because I didn't want to eat the food because it tasted so nasty so they left it in the refrigerator for almost 2 weeks trying to force me to eat it even though it was covered with black hairy mold. They would put me in a straight jacket lock me in one of those stupid rooms and sometimes you were left there for several days with no food no water being made to piss and s*** on yourself. They would Cross Your Arms beneath your belly lay on top of you all with all their weight. I once had a 350 lb woman laid on top of me and I was only a 13 year old little girl the size of a five-year-old I'm probably weighed less than 50 lb. That being said how can you justify and say that they were justified in doing their job when we were just children they were the adult their responsibility was to take care of protect love and teach us not to abuse us rapist beat us and get us in our friends killed. Frankly I wish we could all get together band together as one unit and Sue the state of Texas and make them pay for every drop of suffering we ever went through. I want justice not cover ups. And since we were not included in the lawsuit and allowed to give our testimony as to what we went through then it wasn't truly a proper lawsuit. We have the right to have our voices heard I say rack up a new lawsuit and this time hit the state of Texas hard right where it counts the most.

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    2. I totally agree my name is rhondadavid55@gmail.com

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    3. I know I'm late but I would totally be down I think crimes against children have no statute of limitations and since we have a former staff member saying it was a cover up we may can get heard.
      Lostboi210@gmail is my cantact Eric was my friend my name is Stephanie Caceres

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  17. I had been there between the years of 1985 to around either 1988 or 1989. I was between the ages of 4 and 8 during that time. I remember also getting restrained, being put in straight jackets if they thought it was necessary, being wrapped in blankets and being given prn's as they were called at times just so they could control us. Some of the other things that many of you mention about abuse and such must have started after I was placed somewhere else. Do any of you on here remember two staff by the names of Eva and Jesse Perez and a nurse by the name of Linda Upton? Those three people were some of the staff and nurses that had worked there that had really cared unlike some of the others. I know that some time between either 1988 or 1990 though that Eva and Jesse Perez and this nurse Linda Upton must have left OH to go work just up the street at another placement/group home place that had been set up in an apartment complex because of how a year or two after I was removed from OH this new place was where I had been placed and Eva and Jesse Perez along with Linda Upton were working at this new place right when it first opened. But I do feel for all of those who were victimized in such places from my own experience of just knowing how hard it can be to have to grow up that way and even much of what I myself had seen, witnessed and went through during my time of being moved around and placed in different places all around in Texas before I was finally and eventually brought back to where my family resides in my mid to late teens. It also had seemed to me like even certain case workers from Child Protective Services seemed to care more than others at times as well. Some of them if they knew that the child didn't feel right in a certain place then they would do what they could to move them elsewhere while others could care less. That I also say from experience of both my own experiences and just what I would be told at times from other kids about how they felt about their case workers and why. It was a sad time for me as well. But in the end its only made me stronger and both fearless of authority figures and a true fighter against the bad and evil the roam among us from any place or any setting. I hope though that any of you from there who still feel hurt or weakened from your experiences though can recover and learn how to use your experience to become stronger and understanding of others and willing to fight such evil that roams among us.

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  18. I was also at odyssey harbor in 92-93 my name is Rhonda David and they did all that and more i ran away 3 times while I was there and God got most of through there ... I miss the girls and boys there and always worried about them we were family and they should of been reported before they lost there lives

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    1. The only good times I remember from that place is playing video games up above the cafeteria Lee Jennings was absolutely amazing

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  19. Tom king told me he never worked for odyssey harbor..i thought he did we the kids don't have to prove anything to y'all the truth came out for itself and now u can't shut up anymore we lived it not u

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  20. I wasn't there I was out visiting a foster home that I was supposed to return this incident caused me and my brother to stay there.

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  21. I was there at Oakdale & ranch campus I remember living next to the girls ranch they were down the dirt road I was abused as well by Jason in the tv room where he grabbed my arms put them around my back and threw me up and jumped on top of me while in the air and slammed me chin first my chin was black for weeks and then there was that fat bas###d Dan Simpson who took me to the ranch office and and put me in the same position as Jason did but instead he laid on top of me with all his weight and put his feet against the wall and pushed on me for what seemed like eternity where I almost blacked out from not being able to breathe all over taking some cookies (that he got for his mom which he lived with) from the office and sharing them with my friends in the dorm that place was horrible and I wish I could sue the state of Texas for that child abuse I'm glad they got shut down to I remember hearing also about a kid who jumped the fence and got killed on the highway which was right next to the campus and I remember the kid that got raped in the bathroom stall

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  22. I posted above this one. I agree as well with suing my name is Korey smith I was there from 91'-93'

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    1. I apologize for asking, but what do you look like? My name is Isaac. I was there in 1993 at 67 campus.

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  23. https://camlawllp.com/sexual-assault/texas-30-year-statute-of-limitations-child-sex-abuse-victims/. If enough of us contact this lawyer we might get heard we only have a 30 year statue

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  24. I never should've been there in there in first place thanks to my pathetic caseworker .

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  25. Do any of you remember the motorcyclists that came for several years for Christmas and Easter? I was there, not as a resident, but as one of the Motorcyclists kids. My Mom and I think of you all the time. We did not know the things you endured as in the comments above. We were devastated by the fate of OH and of the youth there. You were loved, are loved, and remembered.

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    1. And thank you guys for helping us out. It's greatly appreciated. But that place had a lot of bad staff members. A lot who didn't care about us. I believe that's the purpose behind this blog. So we can vent. Personally I'm glad that place is an RV park now. I'm glad I got name tags from the horse stalls before they bulldozed the place.

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  26. I remember. I got a Walkman, cassettes, fishing equipment, a tent, a basketball for some strange reason, a Rubbermaid Action Packer trunk, and a bunch of other stuff. The Christian Biker Association. It was probably 1993. There was an ice storm. At 67 campus they talked to us at the school gym.

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