Actions Addressing Greer Center Abuse Allegations Unveiled By Oklahoma Human Services

On Wednesday, Dr. Deb Shropshire, director of Oklahoma Human Services, held a news conference to update the media on what has been done so far in light of the reported abuse at the facility in Enid, which provides residential treatment for adults with intellectual disabilities and co-occurring mental illnesses and/or severe behavioral challenges.

Wednesday, December 6th 2023, 5:40 pm

By: Chris Yu


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Oklahoma Human Services announced what actions have been taken to keep the clients at the Robert M. Greer Center safe following allegations of rampant abuse.

On Wednesday, Dr. Deb Shropshire, director of Oklahoma Human Services, held a news conference to update the media on what has been done so far in light of the reported abuse at the facility in Enid, which provides residential treatment for adults with intellectual disabilities and co-occurring mental illnesses and/or severe behavioral challenges.

"We're working relentlessly with everyone involved to ensure the situation is remediated to protect the Greer Center's residents," Shropshire said. "You have my word that Oklahoma Human Services will do everything in its power to ensure that the Oklahomans we serve are safe."

Enid Police said they arrested six former employees at the Greer Center so far. According to affidavits, witnesses said some of the suspects used a bedsheet to choke a client who had the mental capacity of a 4-year-old. When he passed out, the suspects beat him until he regained consciousness, court documents said. A witness told investigators the abuse happened to the victim 40 times, the affidavits stated.

The suspects also allegedly used food to bribe one of the center's patients into beating another patient, according to the affidavits.

"The details emerging about the allegations are truly horrific to hear and they are absolutely unacceptable," said Shropshire.

Shropshire said during the news conference that Liberty of Oklahoma Corportation, which has been operating and managing the Greer Center since 2000, is working on "a comprehensive remediation plan to address the problems at Greer Center."

"Along with licensing and regulatory agencies, Oklahoma Human Services will be actively engaged in the development and implementation of that plan," said Shropshire. 

Shropshire said Liberty has fired eight staff members connected to the allegations. In addition, Liberty suspended four staff members. The facility administrator stepped down as well.

News 9 contacted a public relations firm that represents Liberty to ask for more information on the terminated individuals and the administrator. While details on those former employees were not released, Liberty provided the following statement from its chief operating officer, Sue Nayda:

"Liberty of Oklahoma Corporation considers the allegations of abuse of residents by certain former staff at the Greer Center to be intolerable. We appreciate the dedication and professionalism of Oklahoma Human Services, Office of Client Advocacy, and the Enid Police Department over the past month. We also appreciate our current dedicated staff members who continue to care for our residents. We continue to evaluate processes and personnel, and reinforce our training and reporting procedures. Additionally, we are working with OHS and OCA on their investigations to ensure we are protecting the safety and well-being of our residents."

As for other actions that have been taken, Shropshire said Oklahoma Human Services has placed staff from Developmental Disabilities Services at the Greer Center for 24/7 safety monitoring. Liberty also has members of its corporate leadership team on-site every day. 

In addition, Liberty brought in two out-of-state investigators to help overhaul its internal investigation process, Shropshire said. 

Furthermore, Liberty is sending a daily report to Oklahoma Human Services, which must include new allegations of abuse, information about new staff members, and confirmation of their screening and credentials, Shropshire said. 

Moreover, Oklahoma Human Services provided refresher training to Liberty staff at the Greer Center on reporting abuse and neglect, contracted a licensed counselor to offer trauma counseling to residents and their families, and halted new admissions to the facility, said Shropshire.

"At this point in time, we understand that the first allegation related to this situation was received in April," Shropshire explained. "Since then, OCA (Office of Client Advocacy) has had several ongoing investigations and has been cooperating with law enforcement. However, these allegations were believed to be individual incidents."

Shropshire said once an employee at the Greer Center told Enid Police about the allegations in late October, Oklahoma Human Services became aware of an "organized pattern of abuse and deception by a small group of Liberty employees."

News 9 asked Shropshire if there were any indications that staff members were involved when the allegations first started coming in back in April.

"I think that's part of the ongoing investigation information we're trying to gather," Shropshire replied.

News 9 also asked if anything more could have been done, given that the first allegation was received in spring.

“That is going to be the question that I think we’re all asking for a long time to come," said Shropshire. "And it’s why it’s so critical that not only are we conducting our investigation thoroughly, but collaborating with these other entities that are, because there will be a day when I think we better understand what happened and what needs to be done. It’s not yet.”

Shropshire said some of the OCA investigations remain ongoing. The Oklahoma State Department of Health, the Oklahoma Disability Law Center, and Liberty are also conducting their own investigations, Shropshire added.

In the meantime, Shropshire is asking anyone with information to call the abuse and neglect hotline at 800-522-3511. Family members of clients at the Greer Center can email telldds@okdhs.org with questions.

Meanwhile, Enid Police told News 9 that they are continuing to go through more reports of possible abuse.

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