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Milwaukee Co. Mental Health Complex Head Demoted

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTAQ) - The head of the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex has been demoted, after reports of bungled care at the facility.

John Chianelli had been the subject of criticism, after the Journal Sentinel reported on problems that included lax supervision of a violent patient.

County officials said late Wednesday that the 45-year-old Chianelli would be transferred on Monday to a deputy director’s post in the county’s Disabilities Services Division. That was after patient Omowale Atkins was criminally charged with sexually assaulting a patient.

The paper said Atkins also got another patient pregnant. And he was allowed to leave a secure ward at the complex against doctor’s orders, while nurses reported that they were checking on him every 15 minutes.

The matter has become an issue in the race for Wisconsin governor. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democrats’ main candidate, blamed County Executive Scott Walker for the problems – and he wanted to know who was accountable at the center.

Walker, one of two main Republican candidates for governor, said Wednesday night that the mental health complex needs a fresh start – and it’s one of a number of changes to be made in the future. Walker did not comment any further.

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