Former staff at Glenwood Resource Center files lawsuit claiming disabled patients were exploited

Iowa News

GLENWOOD, Iowa (WHO-TV) – Several former Glenwood Resource Center employees, including doctors and nurses, have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Human Services, former DHS Director Jerry Foxhoven, the former superintendent of Glenwood Jerry Rea and other Glenwood and state officials.

Glenwood Resource Center is home to more than 200 intellectually and physically disabled people. There are allegations of sexual arousal experiments performed on residents without their consent. This lawsuit details how Rea allegedly set up these experiments and conspired with others to silence, punish and retaliate against employees for expressing their concerns about what was being conducted at Glenwood Resource Center.

The lawsuit claims the defendants sought to transform Glenwood Resource Center from a facility focused on patient care into a research facility to further Rea’s interest in research involving sexual arousal.

According to the lawsuit, tax dollars were used to purchase silk sheets or silk boxer shorts, sexual lubricants, stock photos which included pornographic images, a dedicated computer software program and a joystick for the sole purpose of Rea’s research.

Rea, who is not a doctor, and other defendants are also accused of directing the patients’ prescribed medication be changed in order to prepare them for the experiments. According to the lawsuit, this caused harm to the patients’ health, which the defendants actively discouraged employees from reporting.

The plaintiffs in the case say they were forced out of Glenwood Resource Center after they complained that the quality of care severely declined because of the new facility leadership and its direction of medical care and the rate of deaths and other adverse events increased significantly.

The Department of Justice got wind of all of this and launched an investigation last fall.

As previously reported, Rea, who was fired in December, served in a similar role at two institutions in Kansas, where he also conducted sexual arousal experiments. But Kansas officials say proper ethics and approved protocols were in place for those experiments. However, those experiments stopped when Rea left.

Foxhoven is not commenting on the lawsuit.

This is the statement released by DHS:  “DHS is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of those we serve, and our employees. We continue to take all necessary action to address all allegations.”

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