No charges will be filed in the case of a teenager who died at a behavioral treatment center after reportedly being restrained for disruptive behavior, authorities said.
But a report released Saturday from a nonprofit watchdog group recommended changes at the Ephrata, Lancaster County facility where the Allentown teenager died.
An autopsy showed that Giovanni ''Joey'' Aletriz, 16, had an undiagnosed heart condition that could have contributed to his death on Feb. 4 while being restrained at the SummitQuest Academy, Lancaster County District Attorney Donald Totaro said Friday.
The results angered his mother, Cynthia Allen of Allentown, who on Saturday held a 3-foot by 4-foot piece of white cardboard covered with handwritten messages from her son's friends at SummitQuest Academy.
''This can't happen to somebody else's son,'' she said. ''I don't want to see somebody else's son beaten to death.''
Allen was upset with Totaro's ruling that she said was based on the Department of Public Welfare's assessment that the academy followed policy and procedure for restraint.
''If they had followed policy and procedure my son would be alive,'' she said.
He had asthma, she said, and SummitQuest knew he had it and never should have restrained him.
Allen, a licensed practical nurse, said she has been working with the Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania and plans to be at a news conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday on the steps of the Capitol in Harrisburg with the organization's Executive Director Sue Walther.
Allen's attorney, Peter Karoly of Allentown, said she wants justice for her son and plans to propose both state and federal legislation to protect children with mental illness.
Aletriz suffered from bipolar disorder, which often can be controlled with medication.
''This is a case that started with problems over a skateboard,'' Karoly said. ''The case manager here recommended that he go to SummitQuest.''
Allen and Karoly requested a review of SummitQuest by Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, a nonprofit organization designated by the state to protect those with disabilities.
''SummitQuest inappropriately restrains the youth in its care ... resulting in both abuse and neglect,'' said its March 22 report, which Karoly released Saturday.
Among 13 recommendations, the advocacy group said SummitQuest should prohibit prone restraints, adopt a non-physical model for treatment, get experts' advice on how to provide care and establish a plan to decrease the population at SummitQuest within two years.
''Although some may legitimately question the wisdom of using manual restraints on children, the evidence shows that these procedures were approved by the Department of Public Welfare and they were followed by employees of SummitQuest,'' Totaro said in a statement.
Aletriz's death was the second at SummitQuest in less than two months. Another resident, James White, 17, died in December of what the Lancaster County coroner determined was natural causes.
The state Department of Public Welfare has placed SummitQuest on a six-month provisional license because of ''significant health and safety concerns for the kids at the facility,'' said department spokeswoman Stacey Ward said.
SummitQuest has appealed that decision. Officials did not return calls for comment.
Allen didn't understand why no charges have been filed.
''How are you going to run a behavior and anger-management place when every time you turn around, you're angrily restraining children?'' she said.
SummitQuest is a 129-bed facility that treats teenagers and preteens who have problems with mental health, sexual offenses and sexually inappropriate behavior.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
"...The autopsy showed evidence of a traumatic injury to the left side of the teen's head, chest compression, lesions inside his shoulders, and bleeding near his shoulder blade, in his ribs and in his spinal area... also had bite marks on his lips and tongue and stomach material in his nose, also indicators that he suffocated..."
Read details at Initial autopsy: Restrained teen was suffocated, By Cindy Stauffer, Lancaster New Era, February 9, 2006
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