In August 2006, caregivers at the Sonoma Developmental Center found dark blue bruises shaped like handprints covering the breasts of a patient named Jennifer. She accused a staff member of molestation, court records show. Jennifer's injuries appeared to be evidence of sexual abuse, indicating that someone had violently grabbed her.
The Office of Protective Services opened an investigation. But detectives took no action because the case relied heavily on the word of a woman with severe intellectual disabilities. A few months later, court records show, officials at the center had indisputable evidence that a crime had occurred.
"In Jennifer's Room" is part of a reporting package that recently won a George Polk and an IRE award, and was named a finalist in the Pulitzer Prize's Public Service category. The video also won a national News and Documentary Emmy in the New Approaches category.
For more information, see Ryan Gabrielson's article at California Watch, a project of the Center for Investigative Reporting:
Text OPS to 877877 to get updates on this investigation.
Do you suspect abuse at a developmental center? Let us know. Fill out our short questionaire.
For more stories, subscribe to The I Files: http://goo.gl/0Bc68
Reported and narrated by Ryan Gabrielson
Directed, produced, and edited by Carrie Ching
Illustrated by Marina Luz
Voice of mother by Evelyn Kelsey
"Haunted" by Jamie Evans
"Winter Sunshine" by Evgeny Grinko
"From Truth" and "The Time to Run" by Dexter Britain
Sound effects by grayseraphim and pfly
JOIN THE CONVERSATION ONLINE:
Like The I Files on Facebook: http://fb.com/theifiles
Follow on Twitter: http://twitter.com/ifiles
Reblog on Tumblr: http://theifiles.tumblr.com
Repin on Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/theifiles
+1 on Google+: http://gplus.to/ifiles