In one of the most bizarre stories of the year, staff members at the Judge Rotenberg Education Center in Boston received a prank call that ordered an excessive level of electric shock treatments for two two emotionally disturbed teenagers — and proceeded to do so based on the telephone call.
The call came in on August 26th ordering the “treatment” for the boys aged 16 and 19. The staff took the boys in the middle of the night and one was given an unbelievable 77 shocks and the other 29 shocks. The treatment required one of the boys to be treated for first-degree burns.
The number of shocks should have made the prank obvious since even 29 shocks is much higher than normal. The shock devices, which are strapped to some students’ arms, legs, or torsos, deliver two-second electric jolts to the skin.
The prankster has reportedly been identified but not arrested.
There are a host of criminal and civil charges that can and should be brought here. Obviously, the prankster should be criminally charged — though I expect mental competence may be raised if it is a former or current patient. The state and hospital and staff are all subject to tort liability and even some criminal negligence charges. Battery with punitive damages is the most obvious for the tort action. There is also negligence infliction of emotional distress, assault, and related claims. This is a case with civil liability can serve a powerful purpose of deterrence and reform.
The facility has long been controversial for its treatment practices. For that story, click here
For the full story, click here