Nampa police investigate possible crimes at state treatment center

Southwest Idaho Treatment Center in Nampa
Southwest Idaho Treatment Center in Nampa

Police in Nampa are working on criminal investigations of possible abuse at a Nampa treatment center, while the state is close to wrapping up its own review.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare said July 12 that it was investigating claims of physical and psychological abuse of seven adult residents at the Southwest Idaho Treatment Center, which Health and Welfare operates.

“We wanted to be the first to put out there that this is happening because we want to be transparent, and we don’t want anybody to think we think this is OK. It’s not,” the agency’s Public Information Manager, Niki Forbing-Orr, told the Statesman on July 12.

Complaints were turned over to the Nampa Police Department’s investigative division, Sgt. Tim Riha said this week.

Lt. Eric Skoglund said the complaints started to come in at the end of June and now total six cases. The department expects the investigations to continue at least into next month, he said.

Forbing-Orr said this week that the agency is “working at a ferocious pace” to complete its own investigation.

She said the department is not ready to disclose how many employees have been disciplined, placed on leave or cleared to return to work since mid-July.

The department put 12 employees on paid leave in the wake of the allegations, but some of them returned to work after the department cleared them, Forbing-Orr told the Statesman earlier this month.

No patients died as a result of alleged abuse, she said.

SWITC is tasked with providing assessment, training and treatment to people with intellectual disabilities until they can safely transition back into their communities. The center had 25 residents and 109 permanent and temporary employees as of mid-July.

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @audreydutton