I-Team: Employee Accused in Patient Abuse Fired

LAS VEGAS -- Days after the I-Team revealed abuse claims at Desert Regional Center, a mental health facility, the employee at the center of the allegations was fired.

When the I-Team obtained pictures of mentally disabled men with bloodied faces, chipped teeth and black eyes, we found one employee's name kept popping up in complaints.

That employee, Harry Daniels, was fired days after the I-Team's most recent story aired, which highlighted Mike Hicks, a patient at the center.

Hicks said he was hit by an employee with a three-hole punch.

The attack allegedly happened when Hicks accidentally startled the employee while he was sleeping on the job.

Police reports state Hicks suffered a head laceration.

The Hicks' family attorney said the firing was a good first step.

"If I walked down the street with a hole puncher and clubbed somebody in the head, I would be criminally prosecuted," said Adam Graff, the Hicks' family attorney. "The fact that this gentleman has lost his job is good, but it's criminal. We haven't seen the state's law enforcement arm step into this."

Hospital administration would not go any further into the employee's termination, calling it a "personnel matter."

This was the second complaint against Daniels uncovered by the I-Team.

Other patients alleged Daniels and other employees ran fight rings between several mentally disabled hospital patients.

After the I-Team's investigation aired, Desert Regional Center changed the way it handles abuse complaints and will now involve a special unit from Metro Police to investigate.

The facility will also go through an independent review to ensure patient safety.


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