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Sexual abuse, neglect allegations cited in report of state-run psychiatric facility in New Haven

Connecticut’s Mental Health Center (CMHC), a state-run in-patient psychiatric facility in New Haven, is facing allegations of abuse and neglect following a three-year investigation by the nonprofit Disability Rights Connecticut (DRCT).

The investigation was launched in April 2021 after a complaint over patient safety at the psychiatric facility. The findings published Thursday allege sexual abuse, harassment, excessive restraint, inadequate treatment and rodent infestations.

“It is clear to us that this is an issue that has not been fully resolved or remedied and so that is still a concern that we have,” said Rachel Mirsky, supervising attorney at DRCT. “It would be really beneficial to these patients if our legislators were aware of the importance of having regulatory oversight from a state agency.” 

The DRCT recommends oversight by the Department of Public Health (DPH), similar to the state-run Whiting Forensic Hospital (previously Connecticut Valley Hospital), “so there would be a means for an outside agency to investigate and remediate abuse and neglect allegations more consistently and expeditiously, when appropriate.”

The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which runs the psychiatric center, said it has numerous concerns with DRCT’s findings and that citations of isolated events have already been remedied.

Sujata Srinivasan is Connecticut Public Radio’s senior health reporter. Prior to that, she was a senior producer for Where We Live, a newsroom editor, and from 2010-2014, a business reporter for the station.

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