State lawmakers heard more grim news about the plight of the mentally disabled men who were removed from an eastern Iowa boarding house earlier this year. The men who worked at a meatpacking plant in West Liberty and lived in an old schoolhouse in Atalissa are now under state care.
John McCalley, head of a state task force studying the scandal, says it’s now clear the men were malnourished. "One of the group home managers in Waterloo is a retired nurse from Mayo Clinic. and observed immediately that there were some issues with regard to adequate nourishment," McCalley says.
A Texas employment agency collected the men’s wages and their federal disability benefits in return for providing them with the accommodations at a "bunkhouse" in Atalissa. McCalley testified before the Legislative Oversight Committee today and told legislators the men had gone without dental care.
"Many of the individuals had significant dental issues that had been long neglected and those issues are being addressed locally," McCaulley said. "Some of the individuals were deemed malnourished and those issues are being addressed locally." The men are now living in group homes in Waterloo.
McCalley is director of the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs. Governor Culver appointed him to head a task force studying the case. That task force is to issue its recommendations by April 1.