Abuse Allegations Involve Students at Drug Treatment Boarding School
Although this story doesn’t take place in Michigan, it involves a drug addiction treatment center. We have a number of those here in the mitten state, and teenagers come from states all over the country to use them. So while this incident didn’t happen here, it’s the kind of thing that could easily have happened anywhere.
The Midwest Academy in Keokuk, Iowa, is a drug addiction treatment center whose focus is rehabilitation for “troubled teens.” An admirable purpose indeed. According to their website, they provide teens with “a safe, structured and disciplined environment.” But according to a number of the teens who stayed there, the center provided a lot more than that. And not all of it is good.
The FBI is currently investigating abuse allegations made by a number of former students, who claim that the school kept them in concrete isolation boxes as a form of punishment. Sometimes for days; sometimes for weeks at a time. According to one ex-student, they were only allowed out when they performed feats, like maintaining the same posture for 24 hours at a time.
One girl told media sources that she was able to escape only by cutting herself with the sharp edges of bottle caps, and then begging the EMTs to take her elsewhere when they came to help. This was, she says, her second attempt at escape, as the first attempt failed.
Law enforcement conducted a raid in late January, following up on claims that a student had made about being sexually assaulted. But as it turns out, this isn’t the first time that students have claimed that they were victims of assault at the hands of other students inside the facility. According to the Lee County Sheriff’s Department, officers have received about 80 calls from Midwest Academy, several of which pertained to sexual assault.
In addition, it has been confirmed by Iowa’s DHS that there have been almost 20 cases of reported abuse where agency workers have substantiated the claims. These were listed as “founded” cases, which implies that there is evidence that some kind of abuse took place. However, what was done about it is unknown.
The case is ongoing, which means that there will be limited information available until investigators finish their work. But as of now, the school has been closed, the staff has all been laid off, and the students were either returned home to their parents, or placed in shelters by DHS. As of yet, no charges have been authorized, but only time will tell.