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Monday, July 25, 2011

Mental Health Shelter Ties Children To Beds – Police Uncover Evidence Of Starvation And Beatings In Raid

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:51 PM | | | | | | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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A public investigation is underway after a former official in Valparaiso, Chile, uncovered widespread abuse in a children’s mental health shelter in the city of Quintero.

Police raided the Pequeño Cottolengo shelter in the city, which is around 100 miles northwest of the capital Santiago, after claims that the children were being tied to their beds, beaten, underfed or fed out-of-date food.

The claims were verified by photographs taken during today’s raid at the shelter, part of an international network run by the Roman Catholic Church to house and aid mentally handicapped children and adolescents.
In the photos, children are seen sleeping while tied to their beds, and they are covered in bruises that are claimed to be the result of beatings from staff.
The former official, who wishes to remain anonymous, says evidence of beatings and mistreatment is being covered up by staff at the shelter.
Staff at the shelter say that the bruises are merely the result of the children playing rough with each other, or falling over.
In other photos children appear to be underfed – a claim that was backed up by a doctor accompanying the police on their raid.
According to the anonymous informer, the children often go up to 16 hours without food.
Debbie Cavieres, a therapy specialist for children with neurological disorders, said that if proven true, the alleged maltreatment violated the children’s rights.
The officer in charge of the raid, Major Jaime Zuniga San Martin, told journalists that he and his officers would continue investigating the evidence.

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