Summerville treatment facility has history of escapes, assaults

Summerville treatment facility has history of escapes, assaults
A review of calls to Summerville Police for service at Palmetto Behavioral Health for the past three years at a Summerville treatment facility for young boys and girls reveals a history of escapes and reported assaults. (Source: Live 5)

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - A review of calls to Summerville Police for service for the past three years at a Summerville treatment facility for young boys and girls reveals a history of escapes and reported assaults.

The findings come two weeks after two reported sex assaults at Palmetto Behaviorial Health on Midland Parkway.

The three-page call list goes from Aug. 5, 2016, through July 24 of this year.

Over that time frame, there were 32 reports of children running away from the facility. There have been 16 reported assaults, and two calls for reported sexual assaults.

That includes the report from July 24 when a child told a therapist they had been raped on July 21 and 24.

Two other children were arrested, according to an incident report.

After that incident, the facility's CEO said measures were being taken to make sure everyone involved was separated.

A former worker at Palmetto Behavioral Health who asked not to be on camera says a short staffing issue led to several attempted escapes.

“When you’re understaffed and there’s not enough people to properly supervised that little wiggle room of danger is what allowed those attempts to even happen,” the worker said.

Palmetto Behavioral Health CEO Lincoln Lawrence released a statement Monday afternoon:

"The care and safety of our patients is our top priority. Due to HIPAA privacy laws, I cannot disclose specific information about patients.

Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health has delivered proven success according to our patient satisfaction surveys. Over 90% of our patients indicate they are satisfied with their physician and feel better than they did when they were admitted to our facility.

Palmetto Summerville Behavioral Health is a psychiatric residential treatment facility for boys and girls, ages 7 through high school. We have served the community for over 30 years and provide a structured, therapeutic environment for our children and adolescents. Our services embrace the treatment of psychiatric illness including behavior/conduct disorders, anxiety, depression and children suffering from trauma. It is our constant goal to help our children and adolescents improve their lives for a brighter future."

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