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Central Florida Facility for the Disabled Shut Down After Years of Abuse and Deaths


Many citizens in Florida are still in shock after the harrowing announcement made by state officials that Carlton Palms—a home for the disabled—was officially shut down due to reports of severe abuse, rape, and death. The facility – run for years by Bellwether Behavioral Health – was the only facility in Central Florida licensed to care for Floridians with severe behavioral challenges and intellectual disabilities. This transition was chosen for those under its care after a 26-year-old resident was beaten to death in May.

When abuse like this occurs, it is just as bad as nursing home abuse because it involves abusing people who cannot necessarily fend for themselves and who do not always have access to voicing their concerns to the authorities.

“House of Horrors”

In May of this year, after two residents with autism died, the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities urged the court to change the receivership for the facility because the conditions were so dire that residents reportedly faced a “substantial probability” of “death or serious physical harm” if management did not change. The facility also violated a number of state rules, and was called by many as a “house of horrors.” One 14-year-old reportedly died of dehydration after being tied into restraints all night while she was vomiting, and in March of this year, a report was released demonstrating that a number of residents were regularly slapped and restrained by staff for hours for no apparent reason.

Sadly, reports of severe abuse do not stop there: patients were reportedly left unsupervised and wandering into neighborhoods; facilities constantly dirty; patients sexually assaulted by other patients and then roomed with new patients; etc.

These Facilities Should Be Held Accountable, Just As Nursing Home Abuse Is

In July, state prosecutors decided that no charges would be filed in association with the March 1 death of one resident of the facility even though an autopsy concluded that the patient died of traumatic asphyxia/homicide. According to reports, the prosecutors made this decision because the patient had a history of “difficult behaviors” and “physical aggression.” Still, many questions remain, such as why the staffer chose to remove the patient’s helmet before exerting physical aggression against him; a helmet that needed to be worn by the patient due to his history of injuries.

Contact Our Florida Injury & Wrongful Death Attorneys If You Have Questions or Concerns

Just because prosecutors have decided not to bring criminal charges in association with this particular incident does not mean that those who have been abused or killed – and their family members – do not have the right to bring litigation in response to the suffering that has resulted due to the facility’s negligence.

If you or your loved ones have been harmed due to the intentional misconduct and/or negligence of a facility like this, contact one of the Boca Raton personal injury and wrongful death attorneys at Lavalle, Brown & Ronan for a free consultation to discuss your options.

For more information and in depth analysis, please contact Attorney Ken Ronan at and Case Manager Richard Bagdasarian at


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