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Prosecute those who enslaved people with disabilities

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Henry's Turkey Service violated state laws related to fire codes, unlicensed care facilities and the abuse of dependent adults. According to the Des Moine Register, "Atalissa workers all received monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income checks due to their disabilities, with [Jane Ann] Moreland [of Goldthwaite, Texas] acting not only as the workers’ employer, but also their designated payee, giving her complete control over their disability payments. The federal government direct-deposited the disability payments into each man’s bank account. Those accounts were at a small Texas bank near Moreland’s home, even though all of the men lived in Iowa.
Each month, Moreland allegedly withdrew $487 from each of those accounts to pay for room and board in the Atalissa bunkhouse, and to pay for what the company called each man’s “care.” She also withdrew $487 from each man’s monthly wages to pay for room and board, plus an additional $572 for their care."
Moreland said that in addition to those withdrawals, she also took money from each man’s disability account to pay for their clothing, entertainment and other expenses.
“You know, if you have a child, you take care of them,” she said. “And that’s the way we treated those boys. They were — they needed to be taken care of. We tried our best to take care of them.”
Moreland is a former school teacher and the widow of the company’s founder, Thurman Johnson. She remarried last year.
Randy Neubauer, who helped supervise and care for the men in Atalissa, said in his deposition six weeks ago that Kenneth Henry controlled spending at the bunkhouse but wasn’t focused on the welfare of the workers.
“In my opinion of Kenneth, he was worried about the dollars,” Neubauer said.
He said Henry cut back on extra compensation the workers had received for refusing to take vacation from their work at the plant. That pay was cut from $300 to $50, Neubauer said.
Neubauer’s wife, Dru, who assisted at the bunkhouse, said Henry was made aware of problems at the bunkhouse, which included a leaking roof, when he left his Texas home to visit Atalissa.
“We used to set buckets and tubs and things underneath the leak,” she testified. “He was there and saw buckets setting around with water.”
The Neubauers said there were also problems with heavily soiled mattresses and with a near-constant infestation of cockroaches. The bunkhouse boiler didn’t work, so space heaters were placed throughout the building to provide heat, they said.
Robert Berry, the company’s accountant, said in his deposition that while many of the men had very low IQs and couldn’t handle their own money, they could have moved out of the bunkhouse whenever they wanted."
Although state officials have said Henry’s violated state laws related to fire codes, unlicensed care facilities and the abuse of dependent adults, no criminal charges were ever filed in the case. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller declined to pursue charges, saying the civil and administrative penalties that other agencies secured would hold the owners accountable."
The individuals associated with Henry's Turkey were violating criminal law. They should be held liable for their criminal activity. If the state government will not act, then the federal government should charge these individuals with violation of civil rights since the men were being deprived of their rights because of their disabilities.
The United States of America prohibits this activity. Let the perpetrators be charged and tried for their actions and held accountable.
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