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More people come forward after El Pueblo permanent closure - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

More people come forward after El Pueblo permanent closure

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The Colorado Department of Human Services pulled the license of the El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch back in September after allegations of abuse. (KOAA) The Colorado Department of Human Services pulled the license of the El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch back in September after allegations of abuse. (KOAA)
PUEBLO -

Now that the El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch has been permanently shut down, more and more people are coming forward with their stories, painting a better picture of the treatment center that's been in question for more than a month now.

After hearing from former students, parents and employees, speaking out over these allegations of abuse, News5 is now hearing from one former substitute teacher who says it wasn't safe for employees either.

"The last straw was when I got hit in the head by one of the kids," Kristen Post, a former substitute teacher said.

Post used to teach at the El Pueblo Boys and Girls Ranch.

"Based on the number of times I had been assaulted, it was way too much," she said. "Way, way too much."

She says she was assaulted three or four times by her own students and each hit, came without consequence.

"There was no protection for staff," she said.

Even after she says she filed a report, nothing was ever done, not even an apology.

"They didn't listen to the staff at all," she said.

There was a time when she felt like she had no other place to go... 

"I did it at that time because I needed the money and that was the only reason," she said.

And she knew, something wasn't right.

"I've worked with disabled kids for quite awhile on top of that, and to see how they were not getting the support that they needed was disturbing," she said.

After she was hit multiple times, her son, a former deputy for the Pueblo County Sheriff's Office, told her to leave her job, over fears that El Pueblo would not report any issues with their students. 

"They do not have consequences, they don't want to lose kids from that department because if they change that kid to another facility, they lose the money," she said.

After their license was pulled in September, the Colorado Department of Human Services says when the number of abuse and neglect accusations increased, El Pueblo's overall engagement and cooperation decreased. Adding, that the treatment facility failed to provide a safe environment for children, permanently shutting them down a month later.

"That didn't surprise me, not at all," Post said.

But she still hopes these children can get the help they need.

"Those kids have a right to have treatment, and they have a right to be treated with respect because they came from homes that probably didn't give it to them," she said.

The El Pueblo board president, Joshua Wilcoxson, released a statement on Friday saying the state's investigation was incomplete, inconsistent, and inconclusive but, they won't challenge the decision, calling it a "waste of resources," and also saying the allegations against them have caused irreversible damage.?

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