In response to a Freedom of Information request by the Landmark asking for all documents it possessed pertaining to Mary Jane Duffy, the Illinois Department of Human Services on July 18 partially fulfilled that request by releasing four reports written by one of its investigators.

The Landmark also FOIA’d all Brookfield police records related to calls for service involving the Duffys.

Here’s a synopsis of the reports released thus far to the Landmark.

  • The Department of Human Services has requested more time to gather information regarding what services it provided to Mary Jane Duffy or determine that such information is exempt from FOIA.

The Office of the Inspector General of the Illinois Department of Human Services issued its first report involving Mary Jane and Joseph Duffy on Oct. 3, 2003. At the time, Mary Jane Duffy was 52 years old.

The report states that on Aug. 25, 2003 the office received an allegation of neglect. Specifically, according to the complaint, Joseph Duffy would leave his wife alone without access to a phone. In addition, he would lock the doors so she could not leave the home.

At that time, Mary Jane Duffy reportedly told the investigator, Armindo Ayala, that her husband “provided for all her needs” and declined any further assistance from the Department of Human Services.

  • The Office of the Inspector General received a complaint on Sept. 28, 2007 after a nurse’s assistant found bruises on Mary Jane Duffy’s legs and arm. Joseph Duffy reportedly told the nurse’s assistant that his wife fell in the bathroom.

That led to Ayala filing a second report, this time on Dec. 21, 2007, affirming allegations of physical and mental abuse and financial exploitation against Joseph Duffy toward his wife. In that report Ayala noted he “did not find any object or any furnishings … that could have caused the injuries.”

Mary Jane Duffy reportedly told Ayala that her husband was verbally abusive to her, got rid of the home phone to prevent Mary Jane from calling the police and refused to have his wife placed in a care facility “because he will be without her income to meet his needs,” including his $500-per-month car payment.

Ayala recommended that a treatment plan for Mary Jane Duffy be developed by the Division of Rehabilitation Services. It is unclear whether such a plan was ever developed.

  • On Feb. 17, 2009, Office of the Inspector General investigator Scott Reese filed a report substantiating allegations of “abuse, by confinement” against Joseph Duffy. According to Reese, Mary Jane Duffy admitted that her husband handcuffed her to her wheelchair and was verbally abusive.

Mary Jane was still ambulatory at the time, Reese noted. Joseph Duffy also admitted putting a child’s gate in the hallway to keep his wife out of the kitchen.

It was at this time that the Brookfield Police Department attempted, unsuccessfully, to intervene to remove Mary Jane Duffy from the care of her husband.

On Jan. 29, 2009, Loyola Medical Center requested that police check up on Mary Jane Duffy, who reportedly told a hospital employee that Joseph Duffy handcuffed her to a wheelchair.

Police arrived to find Mary Jane Duffy walking around the condominium with her walker. At the time, Joseph Duffy reportedly told police that he cuffed her to the wheelchair when he leaves the house to keep her from turning the knobs on the stove and grabbing knives out of the kitchen drawers.

While Mary Jane told police her husband cared for her well, they also noted a patch of dried blood on the back of her head. She told police she was walking with her walker and hit her head.

Police told Joseph Duffy to refrain from handcuffing his wife and took a pair of handcuffs from him. They also reportedly contacted the Domestic Abuse Hotline for Disabled Persons.

According to Reese’s report, Brookfield police then came to Duffy’s home with a petition to have Mary Jane hospitalized and took her to LaGrange Hospital. But Joseph Duffy prevented the placement by presenting hospital officials with his power of attorney over his wife’s health care.

  • On Aug. 14, 2009 Ayala filed another report  related to alleged neglect. According to the report, Joseph Duffy had taken away his wife’s walker resulting in a fall. Mary Jane suffered two black eyes, a bruise to her head and a cut on the bridge of her nose. There were also older bruises on her body.

Ayala noted that Joseph Duffy had his wife released from an unspecified hospitalization “because he needed her Social Security check to pay the rent and the payment on his car” and that Mary Jane Duffy “was very intimidated from his constant verbal abuse and was afraid to seek assistance on her own.”

After treatment at Loyola for those injuries, Mary Jane Duffy was placed at The British Home in Brookfield. She told Ayala that she did not want to return home. During this same time period, she also told a British Home administrator that she did not want to return home.

That administrator in August or early September 2009 reportedly filed an order of protection on Mary Jane Duffy’s behalf against her husband. It’s unclear what the terms of that order were. The order does not appear in searches of the website operated by the Cook County Clerk of the Courts. A request by the Landmark for additional information about that order of protection from the clerk of the courts was not immediately returned.

However, once she was placed at the British Home, Ayala determined that Mary Jane was no longer eligible for services by the Adults with Disabilities Abuse Intervention program and concluded “the finding was determined to be resolved without a finding.”

On Sept. 8, according to a Brookfield police report, Mary Jane was transferred to Snow Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She stayed there until Oct. 16, 2009, when Joseph Duffy had her discharged after claiming his power of attorney.

Related links