Group Home: Employee Found in Client’s Bed Was Fired

March 20, 2019

BILLERICA -- An employee at a home for intellectually disabled children and young adults was fired after being found asleep in one of the resident’s beds, the home’s nonprofit said.

On the evening of March 10, a supervisor at the Billerica home run by the Guild for Human Services -- a school in Concord -- discovered an employee sleeping in the bed of a non-verbal student, who was also in the bed. According to a letter the school sent to Guild parents, guardians and staff, the student was awake. Both the student and sleeping employee were fully clothed.

The Guild offers school and residential services year-round for children, adolescents and young adults with complex needs including autism, mental health diagnosis and maladaptive behaviors, its website says. In addition to its homes for students, which are located in Billerica, Waltham and Watertown; the Guild also has young adult homes in several communities including Billerica, Burlington, Maynard and Melrose.

In the letter, school Chief Executive Officer Amy Sousa called the incident disturbing.

“The Guild does not allow a staff member to sleep at work, nor would we ever tolerate the invasion of students’ personal boundaries,” Sousa wrote.

According to the letter, the door to the student’s room was open and the hallway lights were on.

Sousa declined comment beyond the letter.

Deputy Police Chief Roy Frost said no charges are pending.

“There was no allegation of any crime being made that we’re aware of,” Frost said.

A report was filed with police on March 11, Frost said. The student was medically evaluated, Frost said, and the examination found no evidence of assault.

Police also interviewed those involved, including the supervisor who found the employee.

“The person who found an employee sleeping is not alleging that anything happened other than an employee sleeping fully clothed,” Frost said. “It’s alarming and it’s inappropriate.”

The state is also investigating the incident, according to Frost.

Reports have been filed with the Disabled Persons Protection Commission and the Department of Early Education and Care.

According to Sousa’s letter, the school’s homes have an open-door policy for bedrooms and and cameras in the common areas, which are regularly monitored. Supervisors are also given ongoing training, support and supervision for “on-the ground accountability.”

Regional supervisors also conduct daily unannounced visits to the homes, the letter said.