Dayton decries psych facility ‘blunder’

  • Article by: BAIRD HELGESON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 6, 2013 - 9:36 PM

Bureaucratic lapse led to sex offender’s release from security hospital at St. Peter.

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Pexton Hall is the treatment facility in St. Peter where some people committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program are held.

Photo: File photo by JIM GEHRZ• jim.gehrz@startribune.com,

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Gov. Mark Dayton said Tuesday he has grave concerns about the handling of a psychiatric patient who was released by the Minnesota security hospital last week and left on a Minneapolis street corner.

“I am very concerned,” Dayton said after speaking to state school superintendents in Brooklyn Park. “It’s a terrible blunder — a series of blunders … and failures.”

A Star Tribune story published Tuesday revealed that Raymond Traylor, 23, was released from the Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter last week because medical staff failed to complete a 60-day court review required to keep him under confinement. Traylor, a registered sex offender with a criminal record and a history of violent assaults, was scheduled to go to a Catholic Charities facility for men in Minneapolis, but security officers failed to deliver him to the right place, and instead, he wound up near the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Center for men and women.

The incident is the latest in a series of management and patient-care breakdowns at St. Peter, the state’s largest psychiatric facility. The hospital is home to nearly 400 of Minnesota’s most dangerous psychiatric patients, most of them there under court order.

In January 2012, Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson placed the hospital’s license on conditional status after a wave of staff departures and several documented cases of patient maltreatment. One month later, Dayton toured the hospital in person, meeting with 300 employees, and declared it to have a “crisis of patient abuse.”

On Tuesday, the governor said he was told that Traylor was not committed to the state hospital as a sexual offender, but was taken there due to mental illness. Hospital officials said Traylor is not considered dangerous because he is now receiving supervised care in Hennepin County.

“But that doesn’t in anyway absolve the responsibility for handing the situation properly,” Dayton said. “To drop somebody off at location that is not secure is really inexplicable.”

Traylor was transferred to St. Peter in April from a state treatment center in Anoka after showing aggressive and abusive behavior. But, in a bureaucratic lapse, staff at the security hospital failed to provide a Hennepin County judge with a required 60-day assessment on his care and condition, and so had to release him.

Traylor is receiving mental health care and medication, Dayton said.

 

 

Baird Helgeson • 651-925-5044

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