Only on 6: Family of man found dead in recovery center files lawsuit
TROY, NY (WRGB) The NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs conducted an investigation into the death of Raolik Walls.
Walls disappeared on December 3, 2017.
Thirty-nine days later, his body was found inside his room at Hudson Mohawk Recovery Center in Troy.
Now the family tells Liz Bishop that a negligence lawsuit has been filed against the Troy halfway house. Raolik's mother spoke exclusively with Liz on Wednesday, detailing the lawsuit.
As CBS6 Liz Bishop first reported, the family's attorney questions whether the young man's life could have been saved had he been discovered sooner.
In a letter dated December 10, 2018 – the Justice Center released its report to his mother. It investigated four allegations that Walls was subjected to conduct which constituted abuse, or neglect.
According to this letter, the agency investigation into an allegation that a staff member committed neglect when she failed to provide adequate services to Walls. This allegation has been substantiated as Category 2 neglect.
The letter also states a second allegation that a staff member committed neglect when he failed to provide proper supervision and/or oversight by Walls by not establishing proper structure and oversight of the Supportive Living Program. This allegation has been substantiated as Category 2 neglect.
The letter also indicated an allegation has been substantiated as Category 4 against the Hudson-Mohawk Recovery Center. The letter says:
Category 4 substantiation is appropriate in two types of instances. In this instance, it is appropriate based on substantial systemic problems identified during the investigation, including inadequate management, training, and supervision at the facility that exposed Mr. Walls to harm or risk of harm and that mitigated individual staff culpability. We have recommended corrective actions to address these systemic concerns in an effort to ensure that residents of the facility are protected from these types of neglect.
In Liz’s original reporting, Police say a staff member reported Raolik had left because he mistakenly checked the wrong room. The family's attorney questions whether the young man's life could have been saved had he been discovered sooner.
The Justice Center released the following statement on Wednesday:
“The Justice Center upholds the nation’s highest standards of care for people with special needs by ensuring independent investigations into allegations of abuse, neglect and mistreatment. The agency is prohibited by law from discussing the details and determinations of our investigations in order to protect the rights of the vulnerable population we serve.”