[UPDATE] Group Home Sex Scandal - VIDEO

By: Jim Saunders, Health News Florida; AP; Capitol News Email
By: Jim Saunders, Health News Florida; AP; Capitol News Email

THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, Feb. 22, 2011 --

The new director of the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities abruptly resigned late Monday, amid questions about his oversight of a controversial Tampa area group home that allowed sex between residents.

Carl Littlefield, a former lawmaker who was appointed to the post Feb. 4, sent a brief letter to Gov. Rick Scott that gave no explanation for stepping down. He said he was "greatly honored and humbled" to be chosen to work in Scott's administration.

"However, after careful consideration, I request to withdraw as a nominee to serve as the director of the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and will step down from this position effective immediately,'' Littlefield wrote in the letter, which was released to the public Tuesday morning.

The online news organization Florida Tribune had reported earlier that Littlefield could face difficulty getting confirmed by the Senate because of the controversy about a Hillsborough County group home called the Human Development Center.

Before getting appointed as APD director, Littlefield was an agency administrator in the Tampa Bay area. The St. Petersburg Times has reported extensively about male residents of the home being allowed to have sex in their rooms. The practice allegedly led to abuse of some residents who couldn't protect themselves.

Sen. Ronda Storms, a Valrico Republican who is chairwoman of the Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, has been particularly critical of the group home's operations and APD's oversight of it. Storms likely would have been an influential player in determining whether Littlefield would get confirmed.

Littlefield was scheduled to appear before Storms' committee Tuesday morning.

Agency heads can start serving before they get confirmed. It is rare --- though not unprecedented --- for senators to reject gubernatorial appointments.

The Agency for Persons With Disabilities serves people who have developmental disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy. Scott named Littlefield to replace Jim DeBeaugrine, a former legislative staffer who appeared to have the respect of many lawmakers.

APD has faced years of financial troubles, regularly running deficits and leading lawmakers to try to limit services. Scott's 2011-12 budget proposal, for example, called for cutting rates up to 8.4 percent for many APD contractors and called for privatizing state facilities run by the agency.

Scott also said Tuesday he has ordered an inspector general’s audit of APD’d finances because of the deficits, but said little about Littlefield’s resignation.

"We have budgets, and we're going to have agencies that live within their budgets,'' Scott said.

_______________________________

[UPDATE] 2-22 1:28pm -- TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) --

Gov. Rick Scott's pick to head the Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities has resigned amid questions about sexual activities at a group home overseen by the agency.

Scott on Tuesday also said he's ordered an investigation into
overspending by the agency.

Carl Littlefield resigned Monday night. He was scheduled to
appear Tuesday before a Senate committee looking into allegations
of sex among residents of a group home in the Hillsborough County
town of Seffner.

Littlefield, a former state legislator, was administrator for an
area that included the group home before Scott promoted him to
agency head on Feb. 4.
_____________________________

Gov. Scott Budget Overrun Presser with Littlefield resignation reaction.
_____________________________

Capital News:

Lawmakers want to shut down a state-funded group home accused of encouraging its mentally disabled residents to have sex. The accusations against the Human Development Center in Seffner, near Tampa, are from 2008. State Senator Ronda Storms investigated the claims and says caregivers would send male patients into rooms, give them condoms, and shut the door. Storms says the Agency for Persons With Disabilities, the agency in charge of oversight, was slow to respond to the sex scandal.

“Did they do any on site immediate inspections? Did they do any announced visits? Did they go do any monitoring? The answer to that question is, no,” said Storms.

Random visits by state investigators have been increased at the home, but lawmakers want the state funding eliminated and the patients moved.


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  • by Elliander on Feb 28, 2011 at 02:56 AM
    If the residents are at the age of sexual consent (depending on the state, between the age of 16 and 18) I don't see the issue. "Disabled" can mean many things, and in America, the disabled retain the right to reproduce and otherwise lead a sexually active life style. To deny them this right would be a violation of supreme court rulings.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2011 at 01:49 PM
    I bet his boss Mr. Scott was gettin' him some deals on Viagra for the male patients from Scott's medicare scam experience.
  • by Just sayin' Location: TLH on Feb 22, 2011 at 12:36 PM
    At least Jim DeBeaugrine (former APD Secretary) wasn't thrown under the bus by himself. Carl Littlefield should not have been allowed to get his "high five" by working for the Agency and certainly couldn't become its Secretary when he oversaw the region where this situation was allowed to exist.
  • by unknown Location: florida on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:46 AM
    As a parent of a disabled young adult this truly disturbed me. As for the agency overspending Mr. Scott until you walk a mile in my shoes or that of another family that cares for a disabled family member you of all people should not say a word on how much money APD spends. Jeb Bush did wonders for the disabled community and it saddens me terribly as to how his hard work for "our" families has been torn apart one piece at a time.
  • by Josh Location: Monticello on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:01 AM
    I've been inside a treatment facility for people with mental disabilities and this story made me go cold. I was visiting some temporary (sane!) female patients and a male patient followed my group and attempted to accost one of the girls. I had assumed he was just crazy and the orderlies immediately drugged him... but the rush of paranoia, dread, and guilt I feel when I read this story and remember that day cannot be ignored. I do hope I didn't trust too blindly in the system.
  • by aly Location: tally on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:56 AM
    are they not allowed to have a normal, healthy, sexually active life? isn't this infringing on their rights? I would get it if it was non-consensual, but that isn't even implied here. Is the crime that people who they see as authority figures in this home encouraged then to act on their desires? I don't get it.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:45 AM
    but did they tape the patients--thats usually BIG government!
  • by Jan Location: Tallahassee on Feb 12, 2011 at 06:08 PM
    Lawmakers want to shut down a state funded group home accused of encouraging it's mentally disabled residents to have sex. Really?
  • by unknow Location: florida on Feb 11, 2011 at 05:36 AM
    To read about this kind of mess is crazy. I just don't understand how APD and Carl Littlefield is not being held accountable for this mess. As everyone can see Carl Littlefield is hiding behind Rick Scott who is trying to cut funding for People with Disabilities. I don't think APD needs to be in business if this kind of allegation has arisen. Just imagine how many allegations have come up and have been overlooked. This seems to be more about money and because it's always one hand washing the other. It's high time to stop this and clean up the whole system even if that means closing the company and setting new guidelines and policies for group homes on who they can accept. Five million of tax payers dollars are wasted behind HDC ever year and that's money that can be used for other programs and building better centers to address these types of needs. Training is all I am going to say.
  • by WTF on Feb 9, 2011 at 10:05 AM
    Anonymous on Feb 9, 2011 at 08:57 AM You sir/mam are a complete idiot. The article stated that staffers would give the male MENTAL PATIENT a concom and then shut the door. Even if one is deviant enough to be able to follow the logic of your post, there lies a problem of trusting the MENTAL PATIENT to actually use the condom before we could logically congratulate these folks for preventing STD's. Lastly, dude you are nuts if you think it is ok to ENCOURAGE the MENTAL PATIENTS to have sex with each other.
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