Hillcrest officials explain tough issues kids face - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Hillcrest officials explain tough issues kids face

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The Hillcrest Family Services campus in Dubuque was certainly talking Thursday afternoon, once news spread about 17-year-old Jesse Shimon and his alleged break-in at University Auto, and eventual attempt to shoot Hillcrest employee, Robert Mollman.

"An alert response of a night monitor and the quickness of our night staff prevented this incident from becoming tragic," President and CEO Gary Gansemer said in a press conference on Thursday.

Gansemer couldn't comment on Shimon's time, purpose and treatments at Hillcrest but did speak about why many residents to wind up there.

"The kids who come to us are severely emotionally, physically and many times sexually abused. They are involved in substance abuse, personal destructive behaviors many of which are result of the abuses and neglect they've experienced," Gansemer said.

It's neglect that is addressed through treatments, one on one care and group therapy.

"Often times when we are involved in treatment we have kids who react to that treatment. And thus act out inappropriately," Gansemer said.

He says while Wednesday's incident was the worst he's seen in his time here, it's not uncommon for incidents to occur. It's why they have trained staff on hand.

"So we're trying to give them the skills to deal with they life issues that have been dealt to them in appropriately and their life education issues. We're trying to help them socially. And lastly give them skills so when they leave here they can be productive members of society," Gansemer said.

Of course Hillcrest says despite the difficult life many of these kids come from, they strongly support appropriate discipline, especially in this case.

Gansemer also noted the need for proper funding of Mental Health Services, citing the possible cuts announced Wednesday.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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