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Medical Records From Shuttered Mental Health Clinic Found Dumped In West Englewood Alley

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Hundreds of pieces of paper containing people's most sensitive information were found dumped in an alley.

The papers were mental health records from a South Side center that closed years ago. CBS 2's Tara Molina worked Tuesday to determine how they ended up on the street.

We talked to the woman who found the records in the alley off Hermitage Avenue in West Englewood. But who dumped them and who will answer to it?

"Names, addresses, Social Security numbers – everything," said Emetric Whittington.

If it weren't for Whittington, hundreds of medical records and more would still be all over the alley.

"Whoever dumped this, you know, this should have been shredded and handled more professionally," she said.

Whittington called the city to pick up more than five big bags – records she found while taking out the trash.

"Why would they dump it here? You know, paper flying everywhere," she said. "That was terrible."

"You can see documents from someone's session by the garbage, by the fence, by the garage," said Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th). "This is not what people expect when they go to a mental health clinic in the neighborhood."

Lopez said his office is working with the city to find out who could have dumped the documents, and who is responsible for the exposure of hundreds of patients' personal information, their diagnosis, their medical records, and other data.

"This group and its members should be held accountable," Lopez said.

We found the documents are from the Community Mental Health Council - a group of clinics that closed in 2012 when they lost state funding after serving the South Side of Chicago for 37 years.

Their main building at 8704 S. Constance Ave. in the Calumet Heights neighborhood is now locked up, with no sign of anyone. And it is located miles away from where the patients' information ended up.

CBS 2's Molina has reached out to the city, the county, and the state and mental health agencies that worked with the clinic. CBS 2 has learned the Mayor's office is looking into the dumping along with Ald. Lopez's office.

It is not clear who was responsible for the records and how they ended up getting dumped in an alley, but we will stay on the case.

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