Local

Officials Call For Change At Troubled Shuman Center

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Andy Sheehan Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator Andy Sheehan began his broadcast journalism...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Its mission is the rehabilitation of troubled youth.

But state and county officials say Shuman center is in need of reform.

The state is now looking into whether incidents of physical abuse have gone unreported.

Last summer, current and former employees of Shuman told us that assaults on residents and staff would go unreported. In response the county launched a seven-month investigation found Shuman to be a rudderless ship.

“The policies and procedures were lax, the work environment is one of lack of trust and we need to have the right leadership in that center to take it where we want it to go,” Allegheny County Manager William McKain said.

Payroll records indicate that Director William Simmons and Deputy Director Lynette Drawn-Williamson have both been suspended for a week without pay, but now the State Department of Public Welfare is going deeper — probing an incident in February when a case worker named Ronald White was arrested and charged with sucker punching a resident.

The state wants to know why employees on the scene did not report the incident, which was discovered on surveillance tape days later.

Employees KDKA spoke with last summer told us incidents like that went unreported — and those who reported incidents could be punished by the administration.

“They’re corrupt,” says former employee Christine Dillard. “I mean, I’m here today because I reported two employees smoking pot on the grounds and the next day I get suspended for reporting that.”

County manager McKain said Shuman needs to regain its professionalism.

“I think we’ve lost sight of that and that’s why this investigations being done and why we’re taking steps,” he said.

And the county manager says that accountability is exactly what is needed at Shuman — the reporting of all incidents and swift action against the offenders.

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