Schaefer holds meeting on Rosewood Center

January 18, 1993|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Staff Writer

State Sen. Janice Piccinini of Baltimore County says Gov. William Donald Schaefer has assured her that the Rosewood Center in Owings Mills will not be the permanent home for court-committed, potentially violent, mentally retarded individuals.

After meeting with Mr. Schaefer Friday, Senator Piccinini said, "I got the absolute answer I wanted . . . assurance from the governor that it is not the goal of the state to house patients with violent behavior at the Rosewood Center."

"I'm trying to be reasonable," Senator Piccinini said. "I do understand that there is an immediate problem and that they can't be moved right away. I'm willing to wait, but no more than a year."

Joe Harrison, of the governor's press office, painted a somewhat less affirmative picture of the meeting. He said Mr. Schaefer acknowledged the concerns of Senator Piccinini and Rosewood's neighbors and said he wants to address them.

As a first step, Mr. Harrison said, Mr. Schaefer agreed to tour Rosewood later this month with Senator Piccinini to review security measures, including the recently installed special screens on the two buildings which house the potentially violent patients, including several pedophiles.

But, Mr. Harrison said, "The reality is that there is currently no other location [for these individuals]. The only place we have is Rosewood." However, he added, "All options are open."

Senator Piccinini said her sense from the meeting was that "the state will find a permanent place for them for the future, and it will not be Rosewood."

Neither Mr. Schaefer nor Nelson A. Sabatini, secretary of health and mental hygiene, has identified another place to house all of the patients in question, the Democratic senator said. But she said the governor told her he understood Mr. Sabatini has identified a place for some of the individuals.

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