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WJBD - Local News - Attorney General Madigan Attempting to Remove Freeman as Murray Center State Ward Guardian

Attorney General Madigan Attempting to Remove Freeman as Murray Center State Ward Guardian

By Bruce Kropp, WJBD News

The decision of Attorney General Lisa Madigan to try and remove Attorney Stewart Freeman as guardian ad litem over the wards of the state at Murray Center is drawing fire.  So is the decision to use Equipped for Equality to look into problems found at CILAs in the Centralia area detailed by Freeman in an affidavit taken as part of the federal lawsuit to keep Murray Center open.  State Representative Charlie Meier says there will be a fight to keep Freeman as an overseer of the Office of State Guardian who he feels has not been doing its job to protect the wards of the state.

"He got put into this job without asking for it, and he releases this [affidavit], and the same day, they try to kick him out! Isn't that just coincidental?" Meier asked.

And Meier finds it equally interesting the State Department of Human Services is turning to Equip for Equality for an investigation of the alleged problems.

"They're one of the groups who lined up to close Murray Center, and they're supposed to be our 'third party mediator. I find that rather funny, but that is what the state does: keep going to their friends to help them out" Meier said.

Freeman outlined numerous problems during visits to several of the CILAs in Centralia and Mt. Vernon, including one case where a ward of the state did not received medication for three days resulting in a seizure and another incident where a resident requiring a feeding tube had the prescribed formula replaced with store bought Ensure when the formula ran out.     

After reading Mr. Freeman's affidavit regarding his services as the Guardian Ad Litem and the treatment these OSG wards have had to endure, the President of the Murray Parents Association Rita Winkeler says she sincerely hopes that Judge Becker's order will stand.   She feels someone has to defend the rights of these residents who do not have parents or guardians to do so, as it is obvious the state is not doing so.  

Winkeler says they are also distressed that the state would say they are sending in Equipped for Equality to review the homes.  She notes part of the state's filed documents in the federal lawsuit is a letter that Equipped for Equality wrote in favor of closing Murray Center.   Winkler says they can hardly be called an unbiased entity when their goal is to close all state facilities. She hopes the Judges in the appeal case will realize that the safety of these residents depend on someone like Mr. Freeman who is more concerned about the life and safety of these residents, than he is about closing the doors of Murray Center. 

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