Star Tribune exclusive: Bureaucratic lapse led to the man’s release from St. Peter psychiatric security hospital.
A psychiatric patient with a history of violence and sex offenses was released from the Minnesota Security Hospital last week because of a bureaucratic lapse by medical staff, then dropped off on a Minneapolis street corner after two security officers did not deliver him to the right homeless shelter.
In a series of critical mistakes, Raymond Traylor, 23, was discharged from the St. Peter facility because medical staff missed a deadline to file his required 60-day progress report with a Hennepin County judge, according to documents obtained by the Star Tribune.
Then, upon discharge, Traylor was driven to Minneapolis and dropped a quarter mile from the all-male shelter that was selected to care for him. He wound up instead near the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center for men and women.
Hennepin County prosecutors, who handled Traylor’s court case last spring, said they found the incident alarming.
Traylor “poses a danger not only to the public but also to himself … Four months into what would have been a six-month, potentially renewable, commitment, Mr. Traylor is again on the streets of Minneapolis because someone did not do their job,” the county attorney’s office said in a statement Monday.
State hospital officials insisted that Traylor is not dangerous and that his violent behavior — deputies found it necessary to shackle him during a court appearance last spring — was brought under control through court-ordered treatment.
Still, state officials acknowledged that planning for Traylor’s release was bungled.
The episode underscores a continuing pattern of management breakdowns at the state’s largest psychiatric facility, which houses nearly 400 of Minnesota’s most dangerous psychiatric patients.
“This kind of situation shows there’s a real serious gap in coordination and planning on the part of the state’s mental health system,” said Salvation Army envoy Bill Miller. “They just dropped him off, it turns out, without telling us anything. No safety net.”
Traylor, a registered sex offender who was charged earlier this year with assault and trespassing, has a long juvenile and adult criminal record and a history of heavy drug use. In, 2002 he was convicted as a juvenile for sexually assaulting his siblings.
When interviewed by a reporter last week, Traylor appeared stable and coherent.
“I wasn’t afraid when they dropped me off, but I did feel like I was vulnerable … they dropped me with my two bags, around the corner, and wished me good luck,” Traylor recalled. “I’ve been trying to get help all week.”
At the St. Peter facility, Traylor was under the care of Dr. Steven Pratt, the hospital’s medical director, who was involved in planning Traylor’s care after release, according to a document obtained by the Star Tribune. Pratt declined an interview request.
Traylor arrived at the security hospital in April under an emergency transfer from a regional treatment center in Anoka, where he bit two staff members, groped female employees and started fights with other patients. He was placed in a unit that treats the most violent patients, and no female staff were allowed in his area.
Citing the resistant nature of Traylor’s illness and “his extreme aggression,” a doctor asked court permission to treat Traylor with “as many medications as possible.”
Then, just two weeks later, the doctor petitioned the court for authority to administer electroshock therapy because “medications alone are ineffective,” records show. Hennepin County Judge Jamie Anderson approved the request.
Hospital staff, however, missed a subsequent deadline to evaluate Traylor and submit the required report to the judge.
“As you know, there was a 60/90 day report that didn’t get onto the calendar, which allowed Mr. Traylor’s commitment to end,” a hospital social worker wrote in an e-mail obtained by the Star Tribune. “Currently he does not have anywhere he can go and plans to reside at a homeless shelter. We will attempt to get him connected to a psychiatrist and ensure that his medication needs are met.”