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State investigating abuse allegations at Indianapolis center The Associated Press State & Local Wire, State and
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The Associated Press State & Local Wire
February 5, 2002, Tuesday, BC cycle

State investigating abuse allegations at Indianapolis center


SECTION: State and Regional
LENGTH: 417 words
DATELINE: INDIANAPOLIS
Indiana's Child Protective Services is investigating alleged child abuse at a private center for troubled
children following a report by a television station.
A mother whose daughter was sent to the Indianapolis Training Center by juvenile court told WTHR of
Indianapolis that the girl was confined in a room for up to five days at a time and forced to sit in her own urine
after she was not allowed to go to the bathroom.
Teresa Landis also said her 10-year-old daughter was struck 14 times with a wooden paddle, WTHR
reported Monday.
Other young offenders sent to the center also have complained about conditions there, WTHR said.
Rodger Gergeni, the center's director, told The Associated Press on Monday that the door to the "time-out"
room where children are sent for misbehaving is not locked.
The urine allegation stemmed from an incident in which the girl wet the bed and refused to get up and clean
the mess, Gergeni said.
Gergeni said he had spanked the girl as punishment for misbehavior, but noted that corporal punishment is
legal in Indiana.
Child Protective Services began investigating last week at the request of the Marion County Public
Defender's office, which learned of the Landis case from WTHR, the station said.
In a prepared statement, Gergeni said he was surprised by the allegations. He added that he welcomed an
investigation so the center's reputation could be cleared.
The center is affiliated with evangelical Christian Bill Gothard's Institute for Basic Life Principles in Oak
Brook, Ill., and uses a program for troubled youth based on "non-optional" biblical teachings.
The center opened in 1991 at the invitation of then-Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, according to promotional
literature.

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About 21 children currently live at the center, Gergeni said. Some are sent by their parents and others are
sent by juvenile court on a voluntary basis, he said.
The center does not charge Marion County for its services, Gergeni said.
Juvenile court Judge James Payne told WTHR that while some of the allegations concerned him, corporal
punishment and confinement could be appropriate in residential programs.
"What we're looking at is changed behavior," he said. "The best outcome of that - the best measure of that is not while the kid is in placement."
Chief Public Defender David Cook said he was unaware courts were sending juveniles to the center. He said
he had instructed his attorneys to object to any effort to send juveniles there.
LOAD-DATE: February 6, 2002
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
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