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Merrimack Valley

June 25, 2014

Report: Chism 'foaming at the mouth' after attack

(Continued)

“I’m not trying to punish Mr. Chism for something for which he has not been convicted,” MacDougall told the judge. “I’m just — I’m very concerned for the safety of staff.”

Lester Blumberg, the Department of Mental Health attorney who appeared on behalf of the hospital, told the judge that the agency “fully appreciates the concerns the DA has raised.”

He told the judge he could not comment on the examples offered by MacDougall of defendants being allowed to leave on day passes, but said the only place Chism would be discharged to would be the custody of the sheriff.

Blumberg also said that no one at the hospital under a court-ordered evaluation is allowed access to the community except in a medical emergency.

But he acknowledged that the facility is not comparable to Bridgewater, where patient rooms are locked. Instead, only the exits to the Worcester facility are locked.

Chism is also being housed in an adult unit, Blumberg said, out of concern that he could otherwise have access to other adolescents.

Staff bathrooms at the facility are locked, said Blumberg, and Chism has his own bathroom.

At night, he is guarded by a staff person stationed outside of his room, and if he needs to use a bathroom outside of his own, he is escorted.

“So there is rarely an instance where he’ll be alone with anyone, except staff members,” Blumberg told the judge. “And we understand the concerns around gender of staff, and to the best of our ability, we’re going to maintain him on one-to-ones with male staff.”

The judge questioned whether Bridgewater would be an option; Blumberg said that due to Chism’s age, his agency believes he would be better suited in a facility that can provide “child trained clinicians.”

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