Statement Regarding Sharisa Joy Kochmeister

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Disability Law Colorado is the designated Protection and Advocacy System for individuals with developmental disabilities in the state of Colorado, as authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (42 U.S.C. §§ 15043(a)(2)(B) (“DD Act”)).  We are charged with investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and rights violations of people with developmental disabilities. 

Disability Law Colorado has received numerous phone calls concerning Sharisa Joy Kochmeister over the past few months. In addition, The Denver Post published an article on July 25, 2015 regarding Ms. Kochmeister.  Following this article’s publication, a petition was started on August 2, 2015 asking Disability Law Colorado, among others, to investigate the situation. 

The situation involving Ms. Kochmeister is much more complicated than the article published in The Denver Post represented. In Colorado, guardianship always involves a court process, as it did in this case.  Attorneys from Disability Law Colorado had an opportunity to visit Ms. Kochmeister while she was still in the nursing home and we believe she was safe and well cared for while there. 

Although Disability Law Colorado does not support placing individuals with disabilities in nursing homes long-term, it was our understanding at that time that Ms. Kochmeister would be moved out of the nursing home. She has in fact been moved out of the nursing home and into a community setting at this time. We plan on visiting her once she has had time to settle in so we can monitor her well-being.  It is our understanding that service providers are working with Ms. Kochmeister to aid her in effective communication.  Again, we will conduct visits on an on-going basis to monitor Ms. Kochmeister’s well-being and ensure her rights are being protected.    

The Author of this Statement is Emily Harvey, Staff Attorney