The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Girl dies at LSSS facility

A 14-year-old girl died while being physically restrained at a juvenile treatment center operated by Lutheran Social Services of the South Inc. The incident occurred at the Krause Children's Residential Treatment Center in Katy, Texas, Oct. 12.

The Harris County Medical Examiner's office issued a preliminary determination that the cause of death for the teenager was "mechanical asphyxiation" or compression of the windpipe. A complete autopsy report, including toxicology findings, was still pending in mid-November, as were any criminal charges.

Kurt Senske, president of the Austin-based social agency, said an internal investigation had found no wrongdoing by staff members, but four were put on paid leave until the matter is resolved. Senske said the procedures used to restrain the teenager are common nationwide and "the least harmful" possible. "Obviously, something went horribly wrong," he said.

The Krause Center, which opened in 1995, houses up to 62 juveniles referred by probation departments or judges.

Kathryn Kerr, the agency's associate vice president for public relations, said the entire staff at Krause was taking the teen's death hard. As a result of the incident, she said, Krause lost a contract with the Katy school district, which had sent disruptive students to classes taught at the center.

The agency cares for more than 250 emotionally disturbed children at five treatment centers in Texas and Louisiana.


Jamie S.

Jamie S.

Posted at 5:30 pm (U.S. Eastern) 6/21/2007

I was there for this incident. Their restraints were not as they said "the least harful possible." I was thrown on the ground on my chest with my arms underneath me. I told my restrainer(who was also the same person to restrain Maria Mendoza) that I could not breathe and to let me up. He told me that I would just have to calm down then, wouldn't I? He had restrained her earlier that week and the pressure had been so much that something had gone wrong with her eye. One of them was blood red like it was bleeding. that day, Maria had been mad about not being able to visit her family because she had been "rude" to one of the staff. She got upset and the man taunted her. She went after him, as she did have a little bit of an anger problem and was restrained. They took her to our "quiet room" after awhile to calm down. I was in the bedroom across from the quiet room at the time and I was peeking out of my door, being nosey. The quiet room had an open front, so it was easy to see everything, unless a staff member stepped in front of the door. Maria told the other staff that she was calm but that if the man (not sure if I can use his name or not) came in there she was going to kick his ____. He had been alongside the wall for the majority of her conversation and at that time stepped in front of the door. Maria tried to do exactly as she said. He flipped her onto the floor and she was trying to scream at him, both cussing and saying she couldn't breathe. He told her if she wanted to be let up she had to calm down. Now tell me how a 14 year old girl with an anger problem is supposed to calm down when the man who upset her in the first place is the one restraining her? Eventually she stopped fighting and they just assumed that she had calmed down. I got a brief glimpse of her when they all got up and she was motionless. Then everyone got frantic but still managed to stand around useless. One of the other staff asked if anyone knew CPR. The man who restrained her was also our designated lifeguard for when we went swimming. I thought lifeguards are supposed to know CPR. No one performed CPR on Maria until the ambulance came. I knew they were going to tell us she was dead after seeing her laying there not moving. They told us the next day though, after taking her away to the nearby hospital. Alot of us were moved after that, to foster homes or group homes and such. The remaining kids moved with the Krause Center to it's new location at the time which I heard them saying was going to be one of the floors of a mental institution. I remember not being allowed to go on family visits and such because there were so many people outside who were asking questions. Some police came by and took our statements. I gave them mine, but the staff was there and managed to both talk me out of most of what I was saying and to discredit me as I was a foster child and everyone knows that we are unstable, right? I am surprised that the details are so fresh in my mind after so many years but then again, I'm not as that incident scarred me. I could not stand seeing or even hearing anyone being restrained after that, no matter how much I was reassured that they knew what they were doing. I am now 18 and out of the system but I ran across this story and needed the right version to be heard. Thank you for your time.

Jamie S.



Posted at 3:00 am (U.S. Eastern) 12/20/2007

jamie s i to have been thinking of my stay at the local treatment centers from oaks to san marcos and krause are you the one that was with jesse... a pale kid that liked monty python.. do you remeber falice? i ask because i was there before it happened and i knew everyone before they moved but i left a few weeks before she died. i was talking to john paul who was still inside but when staff heard him talking to me they cut him off..i didnt hear where kc went or daniel john pauls gone too..i never got to hear from them again falice called me said she ran away from the center and if it be cool if she could stay with me but she never called again. if my memory is right you where with jesse but just in case im wrong im david tall black hair jesse was my friend. so was kc vincent always sat beside me in class ... i dont know after being in so many centers i just kinda wanna feel like i can remember someone i've met.. i dont want to feel like im being forced to forget someone. and if you where there that makes you a piece of that we didnt get to hang out with the girls that much all but class but just as sure as you knew the details about maria friend or not you spent time with her. or maybe i have just to many lost friends the reason i posted this is because i noticed the post date stamp is today we found this page at about the same time i would really like to talk to you i have a personnal site but its marked as spamm cuz its free [edited to remove possible link to spam site] i also have a myspace that i kinda use its myspace.com/tomthumb420

if you see this page again please let me know who you are or at least post a response at my site



Posted at 8:36 am (U.S. Eastern) 12/20/2007

i to can also say i have seen many problems at that one katy center from staff being with the kids, apathy from staff, choking children, and playing favs. i thought staff was above teen drama but mostly its about power if i could talk to one person there that might help me understand it would be john paul but like i said  he got cut off, but he was telling me about a red eye tho and staff being funny. i'd also like to talk to daniel walker again it seems like they moved him out fast.idk . there where good staff there but good staff is to few and far between. it always happens. and noone does anything its a fact just listen to mansons nobodies why is the kid running out the a/c unit cus in some treatment centers it mean laying face down in a a "queit room" or "dark room" or the only opening in a contained room the vents. for a good source on just a small part of treatment centers you should check out

wwf.fornits.com and look at the Treatment Abuse, Behavior Modification, Thought Reform section it shows a small part of the groups that run a few of the places and from my own research i have found the exact same thing oh and i lived through it the companies seem to hide behind paper work with staff writing everthing "objectivly" yeah its a scam to the top and it makes real help really hard to find for kids thats need it. they also hide behind legal companies and fellow staff to prove accidents while at the same time they punish kids as a group and limit contact between both male and female residents its all soo ugly to think of how many kids will learn this as what life should be a confined room with limited time outside no contact with fellow kids even tho you live togather and that at for no reason at all (or a very stupid one)someone bigger than you can just start slamming you around and kill you shame on you people cus i know for a fact my therapist knew about abuse at the center and still turned a blind eye saying "they do this all the time" as if it would make everything ok and no one cared dam i hope you come back


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