Investigation underway into case of sexual abuse at Marklund in Geneva which led to pregnancy

An investigation is underway after officials at Marklund in Geneva were informed of a case of sexual abuse against a resident which resulted in her pregnancy, the non-profit announced Wednesday.

Both the Kane County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois Department of Public Health were notified of the incident on April 9, the same day Marklund officials learned about it, according to a news release from the organization. President and CEO Gil Fonger said in a phone call on Thursday that finding out about the situation was like a “kick in the gut” to Marklund’s leadership.

“We’ve literally served thousands of individuals with developmental disabilities since 1954, and we’ve never had anything like this,” Fogner said.

Marklund, which has locations in Bloomingdale, Elgin and Geneva, is a nonprofit organization that cares for people of all ages who have serious developmental disabilities or other special needs, according to its website.

Three staff members, all men, have been placed on paid leave as Marklund officials internally investigate the incident, the news release said.

The employees that were put on paid leave, as well as other current and former employees, have been cooperative with county detectives and officials from the state health department by participating in both DNA tests and interviews, according to the organization’s news release.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the Kane County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the incident is still under investigation.

Internally, the organization is trying to figure out how the incident happened, according to Fonger.

“My commitment is that we’re going to do everything possible to make sure that something like this never happens again,” he said.

Each Marklund staff member already goes through a background check when they are hired and then again every year, according to Fonger. He said each location also follows state law, which requires at least two people to be in the home at all times.

The internal investigation is also trying to figure out why the resident’s pregnancy went overlooked for so long. In the news release, Marklund officials said the symptoms of the resident’s disability might have masked the appearance of pregnancy.

The resident recently gave birth to the child at Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital in Geneva, according to the release. She is now back at Marklund recovering from the incident after her family chose to send her back to her home at the nonprofit, the release said.

According to Fonger, a resident is someone who lives at a Marklund site and needs full-time care all day, every day.

The Marklund Hyde Center campus in Geneva currently serves 96 adult residents who live in six,16-bed facility homes, the news release said.