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Sex offenders at Clarinda institute taken off registry

2-2-15 Iowa:

Clarinda, Ia. – Four elderly sex offenders who live at the state mental health institute here have been taken off Iowa's public sex-offender registry, raising fears that state officials will quietly transfer the offenders to private nursing homes should the facility be closed.

Opponents of the planned hospital closure have been buzzing about the four offenders' rumored removal from the online registry. State officials confirmed the deletions Monday, but said the action was unrelated to the possible closure of the mental hospital.

Karin Hamilton, a Department of Public Safety administrator who oversees the registry, said her department has removed about 100 sex offenders' names from the public website in the past two months or so. The deletions were due to legal questions over who should be placed on the registry, she said.

The deleted names included the four sex offenders who are committed to a locked unit at the Clarinda mental hospital, she said. The review determined that "incarcerated" offenders need not be listed, she said.

That explanation doesn't wash with Becky Rassler, whose 95-year-old mother was molested repeatedly by one of the offenders now living at the Clarinda institution. William Cubbage, a four-time convicted sex offender, sexually abused Rassler's mother, Mercedes Gottschalk, at a Pomeroy nursing home in 2011.

Gottschalk's family didn't know that Cubbage and another sex offender were living in the nursing home. They only found out after an 8-year-old visitor to the facility reported seeing Cubbage molest Gottschalk and hearing the elderly woman cry out, "No! No! No!"

Ex-Clarinda patients sent to range of nursing homes

8-9-15 Iowa:

Karen Wininger keeps raising a fear to the staff at her new nursing home. Several times a day, she asks if she's going to be taken somewhere else.

The 75-year-old woman expresses her anxiety in a voice so soft it's barely audible. Davis Center staff members lean down to her wheelchair, sometimes putting their ears inches from her mouth when she speaks.

They reassure her, time and again, that she can stay.

The patient, who decades ago was a nurse, gives a wan smile to the staff. But her anxiety will bubble back up, and she'll ask again: Am I going to be taken away?

Until this spring, Wininger was one of 18 residents at a state program for elderly people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia. The program was housed at the Iowa Mental Health Institute at Clarinda, which Gov. Terry Branstad ordered closed earlier this year, saying it was outdated and inefficient. More than half the residents were sent to private nursing homes.

Supporters of the Clarinda program said it cared for some of the frailest and most complicated psychiatric patients in the state. Wininger was one of two residents who wound up at the Davis Center, a well-rated nursing home that specializes in handling elderly people with mental illness.

Clarinda mental hospital patient dies after transfer

4-14-15 Iowa:

One of the first patients transferred out of the state mental hospital at Clarinda in preparation for its closure died less than three weeks later, his family confirmed Tuesday.

Richard Webb, 87, was a longtime resident of the institution, which is one of two that the state is shuttering. Critics say the swift closures could endanger vulnerable Iowans who have severe mental problems.

Webb had an advanced case of Alzheimer's disease, his family said. He was admitted to the Clarinda facility several years ago after private nursing homes determined he was too agitated to handle.

He was transferred to a Shenandoah nursing home March 25, and he died Sunday.

His daughter-in-law, Paula Webb of Kellerton, said he had suffered repeated bouts of pneumonia, which might have recurred recently. When asked whether she believed his transfer hastened his death, she replied: "It's really hard to say." However, she said that as a retired nurse, she knows firsthand that moving to a new place can be especially stressful for frail, elderly people.

Deaf in Jail – Mistreatment of the Deaf

7-28-15 National:

Deaf people belong to one of the most vulnerable layers of society for obvious reasons. They cannot hear. Deaf people in jail are even more insecure. Some might say that if a person is in jail, this person deserves it and deserves the mistreatment, despite any physical disabilities like Deafness. Prison is a punishment already. God teaches us to forgive and to have mercy. Unfortunately, not many of us follow God`s commandments.

Quite often, Deaf people in prison get poor healthcare. A Deaf person can be easy to frame or wrongly accuse. For a Deaf person, it would be difficult to prove himself not guilty. Such a person may easily become bullied and it is very rare for them to be given any tools for easier communication.