Broken Arrow vocational training center for the retarded accused of abuse

Monday, September 27th 2004, 6:11 pm
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Clients of a vocational training center for the mentally retarded allege in a lawsuit filed Monday that they were verbally and physically abused and underpaid for work.

Eight trainees at A New Leaf Incorporated in Broken Arrow claim staff grabbed them forcefully, derided them for their disabilities and retaliated after complaints were filed.

The trainees' guardians filed the lawsuit on their behalf in US District Court in Tulsa. They are asking a federal judge to immediately remove executive director Kim Falcon and other New Leaf employees.

Joyce Schwartz -- whose son has been a trainee at A New Leaf since 1994 -- says the working environment became hostile after Falcon took over.

Contacted Monday at her home, Falcon declined to comment specifically on any of the allegations but maintains her innocence.