- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The superintendent of a Montana facility that treats potentially dangerous people with intellectual disabilities has retired as the facility prepares to close, state officials said.

Gene Haire had run the troubled Montana Developmental Center since 2011, taking over about a year after a staffer was accused of sexually assaulting a resident.

The facility had been dogged by complaints that residents were warehoused and abused rather than rehabilitated.

Haire had vowed to oversee a transformation at the center. He re-wrote its mission statement and emphasized more treatment and better safety for its residents, Lee Newspapers of Montana reported.

However, the state Justice Department recently confirmed a complaint alleging sexual abuse and unsupervised residents.

A committee at the Montana Developmental Center, meanwhile, found the interaction in question wasn’t sexual abuse and that the “video evidence clearly indicates that both clients appear to be enjoying the activity.”

After the reports, advocacy group Disability Rights Montana asked the director of Public Health and Human Services to appoint a “qualified superintendent and managerial staff with the clinical expertise to operate and manage MDC.”

Lawmakers this year passed a bill to close the facility and Gov. Steve Bullock signed the legislation May 6. Most of the center’s 53 residents must move to community facilities by June 2017. The center employs about 250 people.

Opponents have said the law was rushed, puts people out of work and leaves vulnerable populations in the care of private institutions.

Haire’s job won’t be permanently filled.

Tammy Ross, the facility’s quality management director, was named acting superintendent.

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