3 Choate Mental Health administrators indicted on misconduct charges

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 9:23 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 30, 2021 at 12:20 PM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ill. (KFVS) - A Union County Grand Jury issued True-Bill Indictments against three top administrators at Choate Mental Health and Developmental Center in Anna.

“Unfortunately, right now our office has multiple cases currently pending that we are prosecuting regarding different allegations at the facility,” Union County State’s Attorney, Tyler Tripp said.

Bryant T. Davis, Teresa A. Smith and Gary K. Goins were indicted by a grand jury on official misconduct charges on Monday, June 28.

Smith was charged with one count official misconduct and one count of obstruction of justice, a class 4 felony. She is accused of making false statements to Illinois State Police in regards to her access and review of investigative files at Choate.

Davis and Goins were each charged with one count official misconduct, a class 3 felony.

All three are accused of violating Illinois Department of Human Services Investigative Protocol.

Tripp said the three administrators allegedly started a chain of events which hampered an active investigation by ISP Division of Internal Investigation.

ISP was investigating a Choate staff member accused of battering an individual receiving care at the facility.

“There were investigations going on, state police and the department of internal investigations state police were involved and then that brings a referral to a state’s attorney’s office to consider charging in the courts and that gets us to where we are today,” Tripp said.

Tripp stated felony charges are currently pending against that staff.

Smith, Davis and Goins are scheduled for their first court appearance at Union County Courthouse on Monday, July 19 at 11 a.m.

We confirmed all three administrators are still working at the facility even though they are under indictment.

The Illinois Department of Human Services issued this statement on Tuesday:

“The three employees currently remain employed at the IDHS facility. These are charges that were brought previously and dismissed then by the court for lack of probable cause. If the charges being brought again are ultimately substantiated, the Department will take appropriate action at that time.”

We spoke with State Senator Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) on Tuesday, June 29. She said she is demanding that they be placed on paid administrative leave and be removed from the facility until the matter is resolved.

On Wednesday, Sen. Bryant issued the following statement:

“It is unconscionable that the individuals charged with covering up and interfering with an investigation into the abuse of residents are continuing to actively work and have access to the staff and facility—the very facility in which they failed to properly protect the vulnerable residents under their care. It’s simply inexcusable.

“These individuals must immediately be put on administrative leave until these allegations are thoroughly investigated.

“As we’ve seen with the recent tragedy at the LaSalle Veterans Home, failure to take the appropriate steps necessary to ensure the safety of residents and our most vulnerable have serious consequences.”

The senator serves as the minority spokesperson of the Senate Behavioral and Mental Health Committee.

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