Marklund Geneva home investigating sexual abuse after developmentally disabled woman gave birth

CEO Gil Fonger: ‘This is beyond what anyone could even imagine’

Marklund Hyde Center in Geneva.

A developmentally disabled woman who is a resident of the Marklund Hyde Center Campus near Geneva became pregnant as a result of sexual abuse and gave birth at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, officials said in a news release.

The Hyde Center serves 96 adults with severe and profound developmental disabilities who live in six 16-bed intermediate care facility homes.

Based upon the initial investigation, three male staff members were immediately placed on paid leave, according to the news release.

While unable to give more specific information because of medical privacy laws, Marklund President and CEO Gil Fonger said the woman has been been a resident for more than 20 years.

“Part of her disability is a distended abdomen,” Fonger said. “That’s been checked weekly here and remained at a baseline until the last week. That along with elevated labs, she went to the hospital. We were informed she was pregnant.”

That was April 9, when the facility was first informed of a case of sexual abuse. Fonger said.

The resident gave birth to a baby the next day, April 10, at Delnor.

The baby is still in the hospital. The resident returned to her living quarters at the Hyde Center, a reflection of the family’s confidence in Marklund’s ongoing care, he said.

“Obviously, things are going to be put in place to make sure nothing like this ever happens again,” Fonger said.

As soon as officials were aware of the sexual abuse April 9, they notified the Kane County Sheriff and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“This is devastating to the entire staff,” Fonger said. “This is beyond what anyone could even imagine. Marklund has taken care of thousands of individuals over 70 years and never has something like this happened.”

In a statement, Fonger pledged that he would guarantee “that we will do everything possible to ensure that Marklund will continue to provide a safe home for those we serve and the quality care and support that families have always expected from us.”

“The safety and security of our residents is always our top concern,” according to his statement in the release.

Marklund officials notified the media, families, guardians and staff of the sexual abuse on April 10, according to the release.

Marklund officials are continuing their cooperation with the investigation by sheriff’s detectives and state regulators, taking the lead on what details can and cannot be released. Marklund is following HIPAA regulations with regard to confidentiality of personal health information, according to the release.

Other current and former employees have cooperated with detectives and public health officials and have participated in DNA tests as well as interviews, according to the release.

While the investigation continues, Fonger said the staff has been going “24/7″ to assist.

“We are devastated. This is an act of evil, a heinous criminal act and we are going to figure it out,” Fonger said. “I cannot begin to understand the mindset of this incredibly sick person.”

The Marklund Hyde Center, located in the Mill Creek subdivision in Blackberry Township, is one of three residential facilities. The two others are in Elgin and Bloomingdale.

Marklund was founded in 1954.