Persons, places and things: A call for empathy


By Barb Arland-Fye


Reading newspaper accounts of a civil trial involving the exploitation and abuse of 32 men with intellectual disabilities is saddening and troubling.
Each day’s reporting of the trial underway in federal court in Davenport reveals new details of appalling treatment these vulnerable, helpless men endured at the hands of their employer and “caregivers.”
Texas-based Henry’s Turkey Service employed these men as contract workers to West Liberty Foods in West Liberty. The men lived in what the Quad-City Times described as a filthy, rodent-infested former school and Quonset hut near Atalissa. A hotline tip to the Iowa Department of Human Services (DHS) and follow-up investigation finally freed these men from servitude in 2009.

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