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North Texas Mental Hospital Faces Additional Criminal Charges

ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - A North Texas mental hospital faces more criminal charges for holding patients illegally and against their will.

The eleven additional counts are on top of the nine a grand jury already handed down to Sundance Behavioral Healthcare System.

This indictment carries with it a nearly $4.5 million fine against the corporation.

Since 2013, patients and their loved ones have reached out to the I-Team complaining about abuse, neglect, threats with needles and more. But the one complaint CBS 11 receives most is from loved ones who say patients are held against their will.

Darrell Leblanc, Jr. says he wanted to get out but couldn't even after he signed a medical release. "There was no way I was going to get out of that place," he told CBS 11's I-Team.

Friday's re-indictment means Sundance now faces a total of 20 criminal counts claiming its Arlington facility "knowingly violated a provision in Texas' mental health code" by "failing to assist a patient"... "in creating a written request for discharge".... even after the patient wanted to leave the hospital.

The DA's office says seven new patients came forward adding the new charges after the first indictment last month.

Attorneys for Sundance Behavioral Healthcare System sent us the following statement:

"Our position on these charges remains unchanged: This is an unprecedented overreach that has ramifications for every healthcare provider in Texas and subjects our community to significant public safety risks. Professionals who serve the mentally ill make decisions based on the best interests of the patient and the community. The Mental Health Code recognizes how difficult these decisions can be and prohibits prosecution against anyone acting in good faith. The Tarrant County District Attorney is no stranger to the issues surrounding detention of the mentally ill. One needs to look no further than the recent death of an inmate in the Tarrant County Jail to understand the dangers the mentally ill can pose and why, at times, restraining their liberty is justified to protect both themselves and the community at large."

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