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State officials investigating YSI

By Staff | Dec 2, 2012

While two persons face charges resulting from alleged assaults at Elmore Academy, the Register has learned state officials also are investigating the facility for troubled youths.

Jon Siess, information officer for the Minnesota Department of Human Services, says the agency’s Licensing Division has three open investigations involving alleged infractions of standards.

The three cases are separate from an assault last June at the academy, he says, in which a former employee is facing two charges.

The academy for teen males and females ages 13 to 19 is operated by Youth Services International, based in Sarasota, Fla.

In addition to the state’s Department of Human Services, Elmore Academy is also licensed by the Department of Corrections.

John Schadl, communications director for the DOC, says the agency is not looking into any incidents of violence.

He says local law enforcement or county child protection services have the responsibility of looking into such matters.

Jesse Williams, vice president of YSI, says DHS officials are sharing little information.

“We always cooperate fully with any investigation and will continue doing so. Period,” he says.

Last July, DHS’s Licensing Division issued an investigation memorandum determining a staff member did not abuse a student when they were injured at the facility on Nov. 7, 2011.

The report says Elmore Academy officials also conducted an internal review of the incident.

Siess says DHS cannot say when the investigations will be completed.

The scope of each investigation must determine:

whether the incident met the definition of maltreatment;

if an individual or facility was responsible for substantial maltreatment;

whether action was necessary to reduce the chance of recurrence of the event to protect the health and safety of vulnerable adults and children;

and, whether further action is required by DHS related to the facility or the individual alleged perpetrator.

If licensing violations are found, a correction order could be issued requiring YSI officials to make specific operational changes.

Substantial infractions may result in suspension, temporary immediate suspension or revocation of a license. Also, DHS could impose fines ranging from $100 to $1,000.