A girl on the autism spectrum put the services in Silesia on their feet. She disappeared on Monday afternoon in Kamieniec near Tarnowskie Góry, and was found the next day 40 kilometers away, in Katowice. She is a ward of a center that has been under the prosecutor’s microscope for two years. This includes, among other things, child abuse. In one case, seven people have already been charged.
Wiktoria is on the autism spectrum. He has been living in the center in Kamieniec for a year and a half. The president of the facility, Zbigniew Bajkowski, reported how she disappeared.
On Monday afternoon, the teenager went to a nearby park, a few hundred meters away, with a guardian who had a total of five pupils under his care at that time. They were supposed to slide on plastic apples.
After an hour of fun, the guardian decided to gather the group. He ordered us to come back because there was going to be dinner soon…
– Wiktoria was making an eagle in the snow. When she stood up, one of her friends pushed her. This is an absolutely normal situation among these children. At this point, Victoria began to walk away. The guardian was calling her, but he had four other children under his care – Bajkowski described, adding that this is a guardian who listens to children because they like him. – He quickly took the four children away, came back with two employees, they started looking for Wiktoria in the park and within several dozen minutes they notified the police. They did what they absolutely should have done, assured the president of the center.
A 14-year-old girl on the autism spectrum rode buses all night long
According to Kamil Kubica, spokesman for the police in Tarnowskie Góry, the search started immediately after Wiktoria was reported missing, i.e. around 6 p.m. on Monday. They lasted all night and morning. 100 people took part in the action, including policemen from Tarnowskie Góry and Katowice, firefighters, soldiers, as well as employees of the center in Kamieniec and volunteers. The girl’s image was published on police websites and in the media throughout Poland.
On Tuesday, around 2 p.m., the girl was found 40 kilometers away, in Katowice, on Piotra Skargi Street, i.e. in the very center of Katowice, from where buses depart in various directions in the Silesian Voivodeship.
What happened to her all night? One of the hypotheses was that the 14-year-old got on the bus. It turned out to be a hit.
– The missing 14-year-old girl confirmed that when she left the playground in the park in Kamieniec, she went to a nearby bus stop, where she got on a bus and left in an unknown direction. From then on, she traveled around the Silesian agglomeration by public transport all night long until she reached Katowice, Kubica said on Wednesday.
Since her image was published in the media, the police have received four pieces of information from witnesses who saw the girl in Dąbrowa Górnicza and Katowice. The police verified these reports. the last one turned out to be accurate
– After being found, the girl was examined by a doctor, but she did not require any specialized care. Then she returned to her facility, Kubica concluded.
Two proceedings are ongoing, there will be a third
The District Prosecutor’s Office in Gliwice is currently conducting two preparatory proceedings regarding abuse of minor patients of the “Pałac Kamieniec” Treatment and Rehabilitation Center and the Care and Treatment Center in Kamieniec and Zbrosławice, i.e. an act under Art. 207 § 1 a of the Penal Code and others – told us by Joanna Smorczewska, spokeswoman of the Gliwice prosecutor’s office.
He adds that the prosecutor’s office will now start another investigation related to this facility. It concerns the circumstances of the disappearance of 14-year-old Wiktoria.
On June 29, 2021, the prosecutor’s office in Gliwice was notified by the Minister of Health, who attached a letter addressed to Barbara Rembek – national consultant in the field of child psychiatry.
– The notification concerns the suspicion of a crime committed by a team of people working at the Psychiatric Nursing and Care Center for Children and Youth in Zbrosławice and Kamieniec and at the school operating at the Institute – says Smorczewska.
The letter indicated that following staff changes in the center’s management – from January 2021 – a number of irregularities have occurred in the center and in the school where the children attend.
– As indicated in the notification, “violent behavior towards minor patients is occurring (…) escalation of violence.” Examples included: twisting hands, holding them forcibly, calling children names, unjustified punishing minors with penalties that did not in any way change negative behaviors, but on the contrary – escalated them. When describing individual, individual cases, they pointed out the deterioration of care and safety of children, and that as a result of the violent behavior of their caregivers, children showed an increase in oppositional defiant disorders, even leading to hospitalization. Interventions by the police and Emergency Medical Services were also more frequent than in previous years. Moreover, the use of direct coercive measures against patients is intensifying, also by people who do not have the authority to do so, says the prosecutor.
The notice also indicated that the new staff hired after the change of president did not have adequate expertise in the long-term care of patients with psychiatric disorders. – The lack of unification of care rules, independent shifts of nurses without training, administering sedatives to patients without orders affect the safety of children and their psychophysical condition – says Smorczewska.
Investigators confirmed that there were indeed acts of physical and verbal violence committed against minor patients at the center by educators and doctors. Evidence includes testimonies of witnesses, including those under our care, as well as monitoring records.
Already seven people in this case have been charged with abusing minors who are helpless due to age and health (Article 207 § 1 a of the Penal Code), causing bodily injury to them (Article 157 § 2 of the Penal Code), violating their bodily inviolability (Art. 217 § 1 of the Penal Code) and insulting (Article 216 § 1 of the Penal Code). The suspects include the director of the Special School Complex at the Pałac Kamieniec Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, who was additionally charged with exceeding his powers and failure to fulfill official duties (Article 231 § 1 of the Penal Code), the Head of the Extra-curricular Team, one of the educators and a nurse. Two charges concern the deprivation of liberty of minor victims, related to the use of a measure of direct coercion contrary to the provisions of Art. 18 of the Mental Health Protection Act (Article 189 § 2 a of the Penal Code).
A new president of the center and a new investigation
The investigation continues. In the meantime, the president of the center changed several times. In May this year, this position was taken by Zbigniew Bajkowski, former director of the provincial hospital in Częstochowa. However, the problems at the facility did not end there.
On July 7, 2023, through the Office of the Marshal of the Silesian Voivodeship, an employee of the center in Kamieniec notified the prosecutor’s office about the suspicion of a crime committed by employees of the Pałac Kamieniec Treatment and Rehabilitation Center.
– The notification concerns the period after subsequent staff changes that took place in May 2023 – emphasizes Smorczewska.
The prosecutor’s office initiated a second investigation. Smorczewska: – In the case of mental and physical abuse, in the period from May 2023 to July 2023 in Kamieniec, of employees of the Pałac Kamieniec Treatment and Rehabilitation Center sp. z o. o. towards minors who were dependent on them and who were helpless due to their mental condition. patients of the above-mentioned Center, i.e. for an offense under Art. 207 § 1 of the Penal Code and Art. 207 § 1 a of the Penal Code in connection with joke. 11 § 2 of the Penal Code, and regarding the exposure, at short intervals and in execution of a predetermined intention, in the period from May 2023 to July 2023 in Kamieniec, of patients of the Pałac Kamieniec Sp. z o. o. Treatment and Rehabilitation Center by its employees obliged to custody of minors, to the direct threat of loss of life and serious damage to health, i.e. a crime under Art. 160 § 2 of the Penal Code in connection with joke. 12 § 1 of the Penal Code.
Zbigniew Bajkowski didn’t have time to talk to us today.
Children after diagnosis and treatment, the center is their only home
The center admits patients with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, and pervasive developmental disorders. The children have been diagnosed or undergoing intensive treatment. They do not require further hospitalization, but their health condition does not allow them to stay in their current environment.
Many children come from orphanages or foster families whose parents have limited parental authority or are deprived of it. The center is their only home, and they often stay there until they reach adulthood.
Main photo source: Police