Glenwood Resource Center

The Glenwood Resource Center.

DES MOINES — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds wouldn’t comment Wednesday on accusations made against state officials in a federal lawsuit involving sexual arousal experiments performed on residents of a state of Iowa care center for people with intellectual disabilities.

Two doctors and other former employees of Glenwood Resource Center filed a federal civil rights lawsuit Monday against a state agency and several officials alleging a conspiracy to silence complaints about sexual arousal research they claim exploited fragile and dependent residents.

Reynolds told reporters Wednesday she couldn’t comment on the lawsuit and said she is working with the attorney general to see how the state responds.

“My priority is to make sure I’m protecting the state’s interest as well as the residents in Glenwood,” she said.

The allegations center on Jerry Rea, the former superintendent of the Glenwood Resource Center who was hired a few months after Reynolds became governor in 2017. Two doctors and other staffers at the center claim they were disciplined and fired to silence them after they complained.

They allege in the lawsuit that Rea was determined to turn the facility into a research center through medical experimentation, including “sexual arousal research” on Glenwood patients.

Reynolds declined to answer a question about when she learned of experimentation on patients, saying: “That’s all going to come out through the investigation.” She also declined to respond to a question about how much of Rea’s background was checked before he was hired.

Rea, a child psychologist from Kansas, was hired to oversee Glenwood in September 2017.

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