State closes Eagle Point care home over abuse claim

Health officials shut down an Eagle Point adult foster care home Thursday night after allegations surfaced that a mentally disabled man had been struck by one of the caregivers.

Mary Gear, administrator for the Office of Licensing and Quality of Care with the Oregon Department of Health and Human Services, said the Ball Road foster care home, run by Kelly Schneider, had been closed and the license suspended while an investigation is under way.

An Agate Road foster home, also run by Schneider, can continue to operate as long as Schneider's husband, Harry, is not on the premises, Gear said.

"He's the alleged perpetrator here," said Gear. She said none of the allegations have been substantiated against Schneider's husband, but medical and forensic experts will evaluate the situation during a process that could take months before it is concluded.

She said the Ball Road facility was closed because of concerns about the health and safety of the five residents, who suffer from dementia and other disorders.

Closing a foster home is unusual, said Gear, saying it only happens about twice a year throughout Oregon.

Kelly Schneider, owner of the facility, denied the allegations against her husband, Harry.

"This is just something that has really snowballed," she said. "He didn't do anything wrong. He didn't hit this guy."

She said a mentally challenged man, who has lived at the home for four years, had a seizure and hit his face, causing a black eye on Monday.

"My husband ran in after him," she said. "He got him to a safe spot so he could have his seizure."

The man was taken to a doctor, who adjusted his medications, said Schneider. Schneider said the resident, whom she described as a man in his 30s who has the mental capacity of a 6-year-old, told the doctor he had fallen and hit his head.

He also went to a dentist on Wednesday to get treated for a chipped tooth, she said. Schneider said the resident also told the dentist he had fallen and hurt himself.

"On Thursday one of sisters came and picked him up and asked who hit him and he said my husband," said Schneider. "That's the story he's sticking to now. It's not true."

She said the resident has had a history of hurting himself during seizures.

Schneider said taking the residents out of the home was unnecessary and is disruptive to the people she has under her care. She said her husband was willing to stay away from the home while the investigation is under way. "This is an injustice to these people," she said.

— Damian Mann

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