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Assaults Uncovered at California Group Home

Nearly a dozen instances of assault have been uncovered at a California group home for the disabled, according to an investigation by California Watch, and investigative journalism group.

The incidents occurred last fall, when a caregiver used a stun gun on residents of the state-run Sonoma Developmental Center in Eldridge, one of only five board-and-care facilities in the state serving patients with cerebral palsy and severe autism.

The patients sustained painful burns after being shocked by a high-voltage stun gun wielded by a caregiver at the group home.

Although the center's own in-house police force - its Office of Protective Services - received an anonymous tip that an employee was using a stun gun on patients, it did not arrest the employee. In fact, the employee wasn't even interviewed about the incidents until a full nine days after the tip was made.

The employee was eventually charged with possession of a concealed weapon and received three years' probation and 20 days of electric monitoring.

California Watch's investigation examined internal police forces at state centers, determining that they routinely failed to conduct basic police investigations into reports of abuse.