Therapists missed Newtown gunman's rage as a teenager: report

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 24, 2014 7:47 PM

By Richard Weizel

HARTFORD Conn. (Reuters) - The extent of Newtown school shooter Adam Lanza's growing rage, isolation and delusions when he was a teenager were apparently overlooked by his mother, psychiatrists and counselors, according to a report expected to be issued next month.

The report found that Lanza, who gunned down 20 children and six educators at the Sandy Hook Elementary School nearly two years ago, did not have to become a violent adult, Scott Jackson, chairman of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, said on Friday.

It says better screening and evaluation might have helped detect earlier the 20-year-old's potential for violence. Lanza also killed his mother and then himself in the Dec. 14, 2012 violence.

The information is contained in the soon-to-be released report by the Connecticut Office of the Child Advocate, Jackson said. That report will make recommendations to prevent violence in schools and among youths.

Lanza was evaluated by therapists at the Yale Child Study Center in the years before he entered Newtown High School. Not only was he apparently not properly assessed, but no information from his Yale evaluations was shared with the Newtown school system, which he attended until his mother took him out of the 10th grade and home schooled him.

Jackson said the failure to properly assess the degree of Lanza's mental state as a child and teenager "could have impacted his propensity for violence" as an adult.

Lanza was deemed a special education student, but his treatment apparently failed to address how he could be helped, Jackson said the report indicates.

"Violent tragedies like this one might be prevented in the future by properly diagnosing individuals and getting them the treatment they need," Jackson said.

A spokeswoman for Connecticut Child Advocate Sarah Eagan declined to comment on Friday.

The gubernatorial commission, which was created to make recommendations to prevent violence, had expected to release its own report by now. However, it appears the report may not be available anytime soon since the commission voted on Friday to convene a public hearing in Newtown to gather testimony from local residents and families of victims.

(Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Richard Chang)