Action Taken After Investigation Of Group Home

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CHICAGO (CBS 2) – Swift action is being taken after a CBS 2 investigation revealed years of abuse at a group home was not stopped until a Joliet man was murdered. CBS 2’s Dave Savini has the new effort to create legislation that would protect the people who can not protect themselves.

State Representative Greg Harris was shocked by what our 2-Investigator’s uncovered — two men beaten to death and 33 substantiated abuse complaints at a group home for people with disabilities.

“I’m glad that you got our attention because this is a terrible, terrible thing,” said Greg Harris, state representative from the 13th District. “The state should’ve detected that pattern and acted immediately.”

Harris chairs the Human Services Committee and he says The Illinois Department of Human Services dropped the ball and failed to protect residents. The lawmaker is now planning on creating legislation that removes discretion from regulators and empowers residents and their families with information about abuse and facility inspections.

This proposed state action is welcome news to Lois McCann. In January, her son Paul McCann was brutally beaten inside a group home owned by Graywood Foundation.

“I’m so thrilled that something is going to come of this terrible thing that happened to my son,” said McCann about the death of her son.

Staff members were charged in his murder. They allegedly beat McCann because he took a cookie. Three years earlier, another resident, Dustin Higgins was murdered at the Graywood facility. He also suffered at the hands of staff.

“I’ll never ever get over this,” said an emotional McCann.

She is angry that state regulators never told her about Graywood’s abuse complaint history. She wants those records easily accessible for residents and their families.

It’s way past due,” said McCann. “Way past time.”

Representative Harris agrees and will be pushing for legislation that will guarantee easy access to those records. He also wants to create automatic triggers. When there is a defined pattern of abuse, the trigger would force state regulators to take action, shut a place down and place residents in protective custody.

“The fact that we don’t have a mechanism in place to automatically deal with clearly abusive environments like this, just made me furious,” said Harris. “And we need to address this right away.”

Harris also would like all group homes audited to determine if others have high numbers of abuse cases.

“That’s my hope, Pauly did not die in vain,” said McCann.

Graywood Foundation owner, Augustine Oruwari, has not returned our calls.

The Illinois Department of Human Services revoked Graywood’s multi-million-dollar contract and is in the process of shutting down its facilities.

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  • C.Clark

    It was wonderful to hear about Representative Harris’ proposals to improve protections for the developmentally disabled living in group homes. There should absolutely be mechanisms in place to prevent any kind of abuse against people who can’t speak for themselves. It was horrific to hear about the deaths of Mr. McCann and Mr. Higgins, and the mistreatment of other residents. But how wonderful to know that the outrage sparked by the report has had such a purposeful outcome.

  • B. Schmit

    Why do we need new legislation. Why the H*ll aren’t these people protected under todays laws. I don’t care if you have disabilities, are black, or a woman. no matter what people should be held accountable under current laws…its ridiculous that we cant use common sense. Quite frankly whats needed here is vigilante justice. Find the people responsible and make them pay. I know if it was my family thats exactly what I’d do. No question.



  • ljoy

    This, I believe, is the best purpose of the news: to help protect others and to uncover crimes as terrible as these. Keep up the good work, Dave Savini!

  • kay

    W hy was my comment not posted it is important that the
    public gets opinoin from people who have actually dealt
    with these type of agencies

  • Richard Fleer

    Somebody running this home and keeping an eye on the manager must have been completely comatose if they missed this during their rounds. Just completely beat out cold.

  • Julie Anderson

    We represent the family of Paul McCann, and are investigating the events at Graywood which ultimately led to his death. If you have any information on these events, which you would be willing to share, please contact us at 630-527-1595 or, by email, at Thank you.

  • TD

    Mechanisms ARE in place to prevent this from happening! Many people throughout the chain dropped the ball here…it’s evident! More than the people who actually committed this crime are responsible. Abuse does not happen overnight either! There is absolutely no reason why something this horrific has to finally be the reason something is done…it should have been caught a LONG time ago.

  • sharon

    when is the attorney general going to get serious about investigating and prosicuting the abuse and murder at state run institutions!!!!!!!

  • Darlene

    I am applaued at what happened to this innocent human being in the hands of such careless staff. I too lost a dear brother within the past year in the Dept of Ill center. I know staff neglected him and abused him and they are still out there working for the state of Ill. I have anger and grief over losing someone so dear and I cannot imagine what this young mans family is going thru. My prayers to each of you.

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