In the first formal report on a complaint to the state’s new public information board, board staff recommended the state not release to the Des Moines Register a video showing an incident at the Iowa Juvenile Home in Toledo.
Keith Luchtel, the board’s executive director, said in the 13-page report issued Wednesday that the value of releasing the video to the media is outweighed by the potential harm to the teenage girl shown in the video, despite the Register’s promise to blur the girl’s face.
The video shows actions taken by former Department of Human Services staff inside a seclusion room at the juvenile home. The facility has been under fire since the Register reported earlier this year about residents being placed in seclusion and staff being fired for improper restraints.
The Register asked a law enforcement agency to release the video of an incident that resulted in the firing of four DHS employees, one of whom faces criminal prosecution. The agency refused, citing reasons that included protecting the resident’s privacy.
The Register complained to the Iowa Public Information Board Aug. 19. The board asked Luchtel to work with the parties toward a resolution and pursue additional proceedings if necessary. The board will meet Dec. 19 to review Luchtel’s recommendations and decide on further action.
By law, the board may find probable cause that a violation has occurred and assign a prosecutor to file criminal charges. The board may also dismiss the matter or redirect for further investigation. The board, launched July 1, has made more than 200 contacts with people seeking information or filing complaints, Luchtel said. Fewer than 40 of those contacts have resulted in formal complaints, he said.