Retarded Man Moved Without Permission, Parents' Suit Claims

Times Staff Writer

A $10-million lawsuit was filed Tuesday by a Las Vegas couple who claim that their 22-year-old retarded son was removed from a home in Cypress last Friday by the Developmental Disability Center without their permission.

The lawsuit, filed in Orange County Superior Court by Edmond and Kathleen Peters, says officials of the center took their son, Scott Peters, from Machado Family Homes at 9123 Evergreen Ave.

The lawsuit is the second filed in less than a week against the center, which places disabled adults in homes under contract with the state. Last Thursday, Maria Machado, who with her three sons runs a chain of homes in Orange and Los Angeles counties, sued the Developmental Disability Center for $13 million and asked the court to stop the center from removing patients from the four homes the family operates in Cypress and Stanton.

Some Abused, Center Alleges

The center has alleged that patients at the Orange County homes are physically at risk. Center officials have said that since 1983 two women became pregnant while living at the homes and that two other residents were badly burned while showering with excessively hot water.

Last Friday, the center removed Scott Peters and four other patients after alleging that another male patient had been sexually abused while living at the Evergreen home.

The Machado family, which is referring all inquiries to lawyer Ernest J. Franceschi Jr., denies the allegations.

The lawsuit names center director Elaine E. Bamberg; Harry J. Taylor, a supervisor at the center; Nancy Bradley, the center's head of client services, and Lawrence Fait, the center's lawyer.

It alleges that Peters was falsely imprisoned and suffered emotional distress when the center took him from the home where he had been living for two years.

Franceschi said Peters' parents were not told by center officials that he was going to be removed from the home and were unaware of the action until the weekend.

"We have to deter this type of behavior by the center," Franceschi said, adding: "They misrepresented themselves. They said they had contacted (Peters') parents but in fact, they did not.

"When the parents heard about it, they were outraged."

The Peters couple could not be reached for comment.

Franceschi also claimed that center officials threatened to withhold money the state pays the Machado family for Peters' care if he is taken back to the home.

Bamberg, who was named in last week's suit filed by the Machado family, declined to comment. However, Ralph C. Quiroz, a lawyer representing the center, said the center's officials had done nothing wrong.

Allegations Denied

"We deny all the allegations," he said.

Franceschi and Quiroz both said Peters would be returned to the center late Tuesday or early today. Neither attorney knew where the man had been living the past four days.

Before last Friday, the Machado family was caring for 36 disabled adults at the four homes and center officials removed five, including Peters.

But Quiroz said another six persons had been removed from the homes since last Friday. He added that center officials were still contacting relatives of the remaining patients to advise them that the patients should be removed from the Machados' care.

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