A reported issued in December by the Maryland Attorney General that said officials of the State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene "covered up" reports of alleged sex crimes at a state hospital and were lax in regulating nursing homes contains several "usubstantiated allegations or innuendos," according to state health secretary Dr. Neil Solomon.
Solomon also said that investigators from the State Police and attorney general's office used "improper investigatory tactics" that amounted to harassment during the 2-year investigation of the 15,000-employee agency.
Despite finding "no evidence of substantive or malicious wrong . . . (nor seeking) any criminal prosecutions" against department officials, state investigators in their report "consistently (make) allegations and then proceed to negate (them)," Solomon asserted.
Moreover, because the investigators lacked expertise in health care matters, their report also contains "misstatements of facts, omissions of facts and odd suggestions as to how the Health Department should operate," Solomon said.
Solomon's comments were contained in a letter to Gov. Marvin Mandel, Attroney General Francis B. Burch, State Police Supt. Thomas S. Smith, and the state public safety director, Robert J. Lally.
The letters sent Wednesday accompanied his department's detailed response to the Burch report.
Solomon, flanked by seven of his press Thursday during a two-hour news conference at his office in Baltimore. Reporters were pledged not to make the response public until after 5 p.m. yesterday.
"I guess nobody likes to be investigated," deputy state attorney general jon Oster said. "I have faith of the scrupulousness of our investigators. You don't conduct (investigations) like you would a social meeting."
Solomon in the fall of 1974 had asked the State Police to investigate alleged sex crimes against patients, and employee drug trafficking and theft at the Spring Grove State Hospital in Catonsville.
Shortly thereafter, following published reports of allegations of corruption and mismanagement in Baltimore and Washington newspapers, Mandel ordered Burch to launch a widespread probe ofthe state's various health facilities.