Memorial Wall : victims of institutional abuse

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This Memorial Wall is our tributes to those who have died as a result of child abuse, domestic violence, rape, religious abuse, or other types of abuse. Some of these people we knew personally, others we only heard of. Abuse is not a theoretical concept, it happens to real people, and costs lives. It's important to honor those we lost to abuse by telling their stories, so that the secret that killed them does not remain secret, and so that other lives might be saved, as a result of increased awareness.
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July 21st:
Gina Score
died on July 21st, 1999

14yo Gina from Dacota, USA, died after a forced run at a juvenile boot camp where she was sent for petty theft (she stole food). Gina had a heart condition and was overweight, so her mom was concerned that intense exercises in summer heat might be unsafe for her, but Gina's corrections officer told her girls gradually break into the running part of the program. Gina died of hyperthermia five days after arriving at the boot camp. Her parents plan to use the settlement to pay for psychiatric treatment for children released from the state's juvenile corrections system. Gina's mom said she wanted "to help them get back to a normal way of life away from the brainwashing, to readjust to society. We want to make sure this never happens to another child or another parent again." Gina's dad is planning to publish a book of his daughter's poetry. Here's one poem by Gina:

Tell me a wish and I'll grant it,
tell me what you see and I'll tell you what I know,
show me the moon and I'll show you the stars,
tell me a lie and I'll tell you goodbye.


Posted by Manya on June 16th, 2018
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August 7th:
Myles Hill
died on August 7th, 2017

3yo Myles from Florida, USA, loved to cuddle with his grandmother and showing his great aunt how to play a race-car game on his tablet. "He was always doing something," she said. "He was a very happy little boy." Myles was left in a parked van for nearly 12 hours because his day-care worker forgot to do a headcount before dropping the kids off for the day at 9AM. According to meteorologists, the high temperature that day was 93, and it would have only taken an hour for the inside the van to reach temperatures topping 140 degrees. Myles' body was found in the van at about 8:30PM, when his grandmother couldn't reach the daycare by phone and went there in person.

"If you leave your child with someone, that person has the responsibility of taking care of them," said his great aunt. "He had to lose his life because of someone's neglect. It's not right. It's not right at all. If you have six kids get in the van, you make sure six kids get out of the van."


Posted by Manya on October 16th, 2017
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August 18th:
Roshelle Clayborne
died on August 18th, 1997

Roshelle Clayborne was put facedown in a prone hold on August 18, 1997. She complained she couldn't breathe, but staff ignored her and shot her full of Thorazine. They stood around and watched as Clayborne lost control of her bowels and grew still, blood trickling from her mouth. Later, they rolled her onto a blanket and dragged her into an 8-by-10-foot seclusion room, where she died alone. Roshelle's death, was investigated by the Texas Department of Protective and Regulatory Services (TDPRS), the state agency that regulates treatment centers for mentally ill youths they cited the facility for numerous rules infractions, concluding that the restraint used on Roshelle was improper and carried out by mental health care workers who were inadequately trained and supervised.


Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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August 24th:
Loretta Hooker
died on August 24th, 2011

89yo Mrs Hooker died of cardiovascular disease and hyperthermia at a California assisted-care facility designed for residents with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. A week prior to that, her son came for his twice-a-week visit with her and found her outside, sitting on a concrete patio, "alone and under the hot summer sun with no shade or supervision," according to his elder abuse and wrongful death lawsuit. "She was in obvious discomfort, appeared weak and was sweating profusely." Mrs Hooker was unable to open patio doors by herself even if they were unlocked. He brought her inside and complained to supervisors, but the next week found her alone on the patio again. "This time, however, she was unresponsive, drenched with perspiration and in obvious respiratory distress," the suit said. Paramedics took Mrs Hooker to a hospital emergency room, where doctors determined she was in cardiac arrest. They tried to cool her body but she was pronounced dead at the hospital.


Posted by Manya on February 27th, 2016
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August 25th:
Terrance Cottrell Jr
died on August 25th, 2003

Terrance Cottrell an 8-year-old autistic boy who died at a prayer service where church members tried to heal him of "spirits" was suffocated, the medical examiner's office said Monday. Terrance went to a prayer service Friday with his mother, who prayed over him with a pastor and other church members. By the time the two-hour service was over, Terrance was dead. A neighbor described Terrance's mother as a zealous church convert who once said the evil spirit had spoken through her son at the church. "She said he said, 'Kill me, take me, kill me,'" neighbor Denise Allison said. "I was like, are you serious? I couldn't really believe that." Ray Hemphill a pastor at the storefront church and the brother of head Pastor David Hemphill -- was arrested early Saturday on suspicion of child abuse and is awaiting formal charges. Asked whether church members could have confused Terrance's autism with evil spirits, David Hemphill said "no it wasn't confused,"..."Terrance "had spirits in him," and church members simply asked God to "deliver him."


Posted by Jane on June 18th, 2018
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August 27th:
Michael Tyree
died on August 27th, 2015

31yo Michael struggled with bipolar disorder since childhood. He wrote poetry, his ex girlfriend said, "and loved with his whole heart. He really had a kind heart. He had the best smile. He was always seeking balance." One day Michael was standing on the steps of Trinity Cathedral in San Jose, California, throwing small pieces of tinfoil onto the steps. A police officer stopped him for littering and found a small amount of crystal meth wrapped in foil in his pocket. Michael could have had the charge stricken from his record if he complied with the court order to get treatment, but he didn't, so the judge ordered to hold him in jail until a bed becomes available in a treatment facility. Michael was beaten to death by the guards.

"It's a terrible way for somebody to die," said Michael's old girlfriend's sister, who works with children who have behavioral issues. "A lot of times people who should be in mental health facilities end up in jail, and I think it's sad. They don't get the treatment they need. They're not criminals. They're sick, and they need help." His sister said, "He touched people's lives. He mattered. <...> We looked at his corpse yesterday. I looked at my brother and I thought that is a corpse. He is gone, but he was naked. He was covered in feces and vomit and that's public now. You know, those are the last images of my brother and the last thing this man did for him was kick his head."


Posted by Manya on July 29th, 2016
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September 6th:
Steven Reis
died on September 6th, 2015

55yo Mr Reis from Kentucky, USA, was an Air Force veteran who suffered from PTSD, depression, and diabetes. He disappeared in January of 2015, and his caretaker continued using his credit/debit card to receive his benefits. Nine months later, on September 6th, 2015, Mr Reis' body was found in the basement of an abandoned house. Cause of death was undetermined because the body has decomposed, so the caretaker was sentenced to four years for fraud and ordered to pay back $32,822 in restitution.


Posted by Manya on August 27th, 2016
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October 3rd:
Danny Chen
died on October 3rd, 2011

19yo Danny from Chinaton, NYC, was a US soldier bullied to death by his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan. He was the youngest, it was his first deployment, and he was the only Asian-American in his platoon. "People here are leaving left and right now, everyone is getting stress fractures and broken legs," he wrote. "All of the weaker people have either left or gone home for 30 days to heal. Now I'm the weakest one left." They called him "gook," "chink," "dragon lady." They forced him to do sprints while carrying a sandbag. They ordered him to crawl along gravel-covered ground while they flung rocks at him. And one day, when his unit was assembling a tent, he was forced to wear a green hard-hat and shout out instructions to his fellow soldiers in Chinese. After he was thrown rocks at, another soldier asked Danny if he was OK. Danny replied, "No sweat," and then shot himself.


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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October 13th:
Sean McIlmail
died on October 13th, 2013

Sean was a 26yo man from Pennsylvania, USA, who was abused by a Catholic priest as a teenager. He kept it secret and escaped into drugs, until more victims started to come forward but the police couldn't press charges because statutes of limitations have ran out. Sean came forward and reported his story to protect children (particularly his nephews) from being abused by the same priest that abused Sean. He was clean and sober for 6 month (the lawyer wouldn't take the case otherwise), and was preparing to testify, but days before that he died of heroin overdose. "The drug piece is unbelievably common," says David Clohessy, national director of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). "The indirect disclosures are surprisingly common. The law enforcement involvement is painfully rare."

"I'm not mad at [the priest who raped Sean], because I think he's sick," said Sean's mother. "I'm angry at the church for letting him serve so long and covering it up." She also said of the Pope Francis' upcoming visit, "He's coming to Philadelphia, which is so bad with priest abuse. He's seeing the poor, the immigrants, the prisoners, all of which wasn't the church's fault. But it is the church's fault that we have this segment of the population that's drug-addicted and has all these mental health problems."


Posted by Manya on March 5th, 2016
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October 31st:
Autumn Elgersma
died on October 31st, 2013

Autumn suffered a skull fracture and brain trauma while in Sapp's care on Oct. 29. Autumn died two days later at a Sioux Falls hospital. Police have said that Sapp who ran the day care centre originally told investigators the child fell down the stairs at her daycare facility. They later determined that the girl's injuries were not consistent with that type of fall and that Sapp then admitted to throwing the child to the floor. Autumn's parents Phillip and Jennifer paid an emotional tribute to their beloved daughter at the time of her death. ‘Autumn was a joy in our lives and we are blessed to have called her ours. Sapp pleaded guilty to three counts resulting in a 100 year sentence.


Posted by Jane on June 17th, 2018
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