Facility accused of human experiments on people with disabilities in Iowa

GLENWOOD, Iowa (WHO-DT/CNN) - The Department of Public Safety joined an investigation into claims that residents of a center that treats intellectually and physically disabled Iowans, including children, were subject to human experiments.

The state Department of Human Services issued a statement regarding Glenwood Resource Center on Monday, saying DHS Director Kelly Garcia requested support from DPS to "assist in reviewing additional allegations made in the course of her fact-finding efforts."

"The Department of Human Services will continue to be transparent and provide updates as this unfolds, being careful not to jeopardize any aspect of the investigation," said the agency in the statement.

The U.S. Department of Justice is already investigating and sent a letter to Gov. Kim Reynolds last month. It said its investigators are specifically looking into claims that the facility performed sexual arousal and optimal hydration studies on residents.

"We are working with the DOJ, doing everything that we can, first of all, to make sure that the residents are getting the care that they need and that they are being taken care of, so that remains the top priority," Reynolds said. "And then, you know, just looking at policies and procedures and reviewing what some of the feedback has been from the personnel that has been there, so we are going to continue to try to - there's some information that is protected - but try to be transparent and open. And I think Director Garcia has done a good job in doing that."

Federal investigators visited Glenwood on Dec. 6, and Garcia toured the facility last week.

"We obviously took the allegations incredibly seriously and immediately reached back out to DOJ to ask some clarifying questions," Garcia said.

State Rep. John Forbes said legislators and citizens across the state are disturbed by the allegations.

"These are our most vulnerable patients here in the state of Iowa, and again we want to make sure they are well taken care of," Forbes said.

He said House Democrats tried to look into what was going on at state-run facilities during the last legislative session.

"Iowa House Democrats put forth an amendment to our budget bill that would have created an interim study committee, where legislators would have had the opportunity to actually go and visit the facilities and see what's going on," Forbes said. "Unfortunately, the Republican-controlled House voted down that amendment to the bill."

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