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DOJ Investigating Alabama Resort After Manager Prohibits HIV-Positive Child From Using Pool, Restrooms

May 21, 2008

The Department of Justice is investigating Wales West RV Resort in Silverhill, Ala., in preparation for a possible discrimination lawsuit after a manager at the facility prohibited an HIV-positive child from using the facility's swimming pool and restrooms in July 2007, the Birmingham Press-Register reports (Bean, Birmingham Press-Register, 5/19).

DOJ began an investigation of Wales West in January after allegations that the facility violated the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 by not allowing the child to use the pool and restrooms. On May 13, the department filed a federal court petition seeking testimony from Dick Glover, the child's adoptive father, according to the AP/Northwest Alabama Times Daily (AP/Northwest Alabama Times Daily, 5/19). The investigation is ongoing because department officials have been unable to identify the manager who spoke directly to the Glovers, according to court records.

Dick Glover, his wife Silvia Glover and their foster children -- an HIV-positive two-year-old named Caleb and an infant -- visited Wales West in July 2007 and left after less than one day. A manager at the facility told the Glovers that Caleb, who is now three, could not use the swimming pool, showers or other common areas unless the Glovers could provide a doctor's letter stating that Caleb's HIV-positive status would not put other visitors in danger.

Ken Zadnichek, who owns Wales West, has said the facility asked for a letter from a doctor or health department as a safety measure to ensure the child could not transmit HIV to others. The facility later issued a refund to the Glovers. Zadnichek on Friday declined to comment further, the Press-Register reports.

Silvia Glover said she believes DOJ's involvement in the case could lead to HIV education and awareness training for Wales West employees and new guidelines outlining the rights of HIV-positive people to use public facilities.

According to the Press-Register, Wales West in September 2007 hosted a "family reunion," sponsored by the Campaign to End AIDS, for people living with HIV/AIDS (Birmingham Press-Register, 5/19).

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