May 9th, 2014
08:28 PM ET

Ex-patients, families say decades of abuse, fraud at Colorado facility ignored

Denver (CNN) - How did an unlicensed professional, who led people to believe he was a medical doctor, run a facility for adolescents with mental illness and drug abuse problems for decades, despite complaint after complaint to state regulators alleging abuse?

That's the question that haunts some of the alleged victims of an inpatient treatment center that operated in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, for about 30 years.

A CNN investigation uncovered at least 15 civil suits and some two dozen complaints to state regulators against Adolescent and Family Institute of Colorado, also known as AFIC. The allegations include verbal and sexual abuse, unauthorized discontinuance of psychotropic medication and fraud.

The man in charge, AFIC's president and founder, Alexander Panio Jr., was not a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist in the state of Colorado, yet he was allegedly treating patients, and participating in and enabling the abuse at his facility.

"It did the most incredible damage to our family," said Rick Palmer, who's filed a civil suit against AFIC, Panio and other staff members.


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May 2nd, 2014
09:22 PM ET

How 9 million pounds of bad meat got to your store

(CNN) PETALUMA, CALIFORNIA – Earlier this year, a dusty little slaughterhouse in Northern California was ground zero for one of the biggest meat recalls in years. Rancho Feeding Corp. had called back nearly 9 million pounds of bad meat from thousands of unsuspecting stores across the country.

The story of how millions of pounds of bad meat – products the U.S. Department of Agriculture called “unfit for human food” – made it out into the world and triggered a criminal investigation is one of staggering deception and cancerous cows, federal officials familiar with the investigation tell CNN. And the plant where it all went down was also the setting for an illicit romance, according to documents obtained by CNN.

Federal investigators started surveillance on the California facility after getting a tip from a former Rancho employee. In January, federal marshals raided the Petaluma plant and seized the company's records. Days later, the first recall notice went out, officials said.

Investigators now believe that Rancho was buying diseased dairy cows and processing them when government inspectors weren’t there. After the cows were killed, employees would hide the warning signs of cancer by trimming off diseased parts, using a fake stamp of approval or even replacing the heads of sick cows with ones from healthy animals. It’s unclear which employees were involved, officials said.

The account provides a fuller picture of what happened inside the plant than has been previously made public. In a letter a day after the first recall, the USDA told Rancho an investigation found that the facility “shipped adulterated and misbranded product” and hadn’t inspected cattle that “were likely affected with epithelioma of the eye (eye cancer).”


But that wasn’t the only misconduct going down at the plant. Turns out that one of the government inspectors – someone responsible for protecting consumers from bad meat – was having a romantic relationship with a plant foreman, according to a USDA email obtained by CNN.

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Filed under: Eatocracy • Food • News • OutFront Exclusive • OutFront Investigation
November 22nd, 2013
09:26 PM ET

Use of drug "Molly" on the rise in America

The party drug molly is seeing a rise in popularity.

The drug is dangerous, one DEA official telling CNN, "You're playing Russian roulette if you take these compounds" in molly.

9 things everyone should know about the drug Molly

We decided to take CNN'S cameras undercover to find out what molly users actually know about the drug they are taking.

Drew Griffin has the special OutFront investigation.

Filed under: Drugs • News • OutFront Investigation
October 29th, 2013
08:34 PM ET

Marine could lose career for exposing insider threat

After 13 years with the Marines, a single e-mail that many say could have saved lives is threatening to end Major Jason Brezler's career.

Brezler used his personal email account to try to warn marines that a high-ranking Afghan official was a security risk.

No one acted on Brezler's warning and three marines were killed months later.

So why is Major Brezler the only one facing backlash?

Ivan Watson has this OutFront investigation.


Filed under: Military • News • OutFront Investigation
October 25th, 2013
09:36 PM ET

Is the Defense Department crying wolf on impact of spending cuts?

The Defense Department has been warning that America's national security could be at risk and thousands of jobs could be lost as a result of budget cuts.

Do the claims add up? Barbara Starr has the OutFront investigation

Filed under: National Security • News • OutFront Investigation
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