Psychiatric facility with Upstate ties forced to close in Low Country
GEORGETOWN, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - As FOX Carolina Investigates continues to look into what goes on behind the walls at a Simpsonville psychiatric treatment center, we’ve uncovered similar issues at sister facility.
Broadstep, a Raleigh-based company offering behavioral health services, operates facilities throughout the country. We began investigating their Simpsonville facility, Broadstep-Academy Venice, last week when three teens ran away from the center. Since then we’ve learned two employees were arrested for cruelty to children in the last month.
A Broadstep facility in Georgetown came under scrutiny over the summer. The 32-bed center was for child survivors of abuse and neglect, but Georgetown city council decided to not renew Broadstep’s business license after police deemed the facility a “public nuisance.”
Since the facility opened in 2020, police had received more than 150 calls for service, Georgetown Police Chief William Pierce told our sister-station WCSC. They also filed more than 70 incident reports for fights, assaults, disturbances and runaways.
At the time, Broadstep’s attorney Lewis Gossett told a WCSC reporter closing the facility was the wrong choice.
“They all need that kind of care,” Gossett said. “They all need somebody looking out for them, giving them safety and security and we think we’ve done that.”
At the same time, a lawsuit was working its way through the courts. It alleged that in 2021 staff at the Georgetown facility used too much force restraining a 13-year-old boy, breaking his arm.
The court documents said staff didn’t take the boy to the hospital until the next day, nor did they inform the 13-year-old’s mother.
The case was settled in October with the 13-year-old being awarded a $275,000 settlement.
The incident is similar to those detailed in arrest warrants for employees at Broadstep-Academy Venice. According to the Greenville County Sheriff’s office, they’ve had 80 reports involving the facility in the last 13 years.
We’ve requested additional documents to learn more about Venice’s history with law enforcement.
We’ve also reached out to Broadstep, but they have not returned our request for comment.
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