COLUMBUS, Ohio — Torii Behavioral Health, a re-branded name for the embattled teen psychiatric facility Sequel Pomegranate, has informed the state it will close.
No explanation was given in the September 8 letter to the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, but the move follows years’ worth of violent incidents and other problems at the facility that is owned and operated by Sequel Youth and Family Services.
In its letter, Torii CEO Michael Henderson told OHMAS:
“This letter provides notification of the closure of the adolescent psychiatric hospital operated by Sequel Pomegranate Health Systems, LLC d/b/a Torii Behavioral Health. The expected closure date is October 8, 2021 following the discharge of all patients. Torii is voluntarily relinquishing all of its OMHAS licenses and certifications as of the closure date including its license to operate a private psychiatric hospital and its mental health certification. All patients will be discharged to home or to an appropriate alternative setting consistent with applicable legal obligations. We anticipate that all patients will be discharged by September 10, 2021 and we are not accepting any new admissions.”
Since 2019, 10 Investigates has reported on a series of recurring problems at the facility - including substantiated cases of violence and abuse that has left both teens and staff there injured.
Our reporting prompted increased inspections by both the state and county agencies in the fall of 2019. OHMAS would later cite the facility for using improper restraint holds.
In November of 2019, two staffers were fired – including a nurse - who punched and kicked a teenage girl during a restraint hold. That prompted the state to threaten to revoke the license of the facility’s acute hospital. The facility maintained that license through a settlement agreement in which it agreed to retrain staff and address its issues.
In 2020, the problems persisted. There were fights, riots and increased calls to the Columbus Division of Police who were asked to intervene. Body camera video capture the then-CEO asking officers to arrest girls who were “hell on wheels.”
10 Investigates has also interviewed former staff members, parents and past residents who allege they too were exposed to trauma either by being threatened with painful restraint holds or placed in them.
By the summer of 2020, OHMAS threatened again to revoke the facility’s residential license. This threat – combined with the fact Franklin County Children Services no longer recommended children be admitted there -- essentially crippled Sequel Pomegranate. The facility relinquished its license in December of 2020. That same week, it filed paperwork with the Ohio Secretary of State’s office to rename Sequel Pomegranate, Torii Behavioral Health.
A woman who answered the phone at Torii Behavioral Health Thursday said they were informed by Sequel Youth and Family Services of the decision to close. 10 Investigates visited the facility and found only a few cars in the parking lot.
Multiple phone calls and emails have been placed with administrators for Torii and for Sequel Youth and Family Services. As of this publication, we have not heard back.
This story will be updated.