Disabled people locked up? Ex-employee charged

Bielefeld/Bad Oeynhausen (dpa/lnw) – After years of investigation, the Bielefeld public prosecutor’s office has filed charges against four former employees of a facility for the disabled in Bad Oeynhausen. In the 367-page indictment, they are accused in various constellations of deprivation of liberty – sometimes in serious cases – and dangerous bodily harm.

The investigating Bielefeld public prosecutor Christopher York and the Wittekindshof Diaconal Foundation concerned confirmed reports from several media outlets on Friday.

According to the indictment, the accused, as executives, are responsible for hundreds of days of aggressive or self-endangering people being illegally locked in their rooms or a special “time-out room” for days, sometimes fixed with belts and sedated with strong drugs. Particularly serious cases with 18 victims were accused, said York.

“There is a suspicion that measures involving deprivation of liberty and other actions were taken against residents of a former business area in Bad Oeynhausen-Volmerdingsen, which violated the rights of our clients,” explained the spokesman for the foundation, Pastor Prof. Dierk Starnitzke, on Friday. The foundation is doing everything in its power to clear up the allegations of violence.

The investigation was triggered by a criminal complaint filed by a relative. In October 2019 there was a search operation, the prosecutor York reported.

© dpa-infocom, dpa:220923-99-871906/2

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