OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A Church of Scientology organization

is urging the Oklahoma Legislature to establish a state

agency to investigate abuse of psychiatric patients.

The Citizens Commission on Human Rights issued a news release

Thursday, accusing the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health

of condoning or covering up the killing of mental patients.

The commission said the Mental Health Department refuses

to investigate thoroughly 11 suspicious deaths at state

mental institutions.

Mental Health spokeswoman Sarah Dunn denied that. "On any

deaths, we investigate and do a check on all of them, we

do," she said.

"The department denies all those allegations. We do look

into all deaths and all inquiries," she said.

"We follow all procedures. In all cases, in all deaths

we follow through," she said, declining further comment.

The commission is asking the Legislature to establish an

agency to investigate psychiatric abuse deaths.

"Citizens of Oklahoma are being allowed to die, or are

being killed outright, in state mental institutions, with

no attempt being made by the Mental Health Department to

find the cause and put an end to it," said Sanford Block,

the commission's executive director.

He made the allegation in a letter to Rep. Jeff Hamilton,

chairman of the House Committee on Health and Mental Health.

Hamilton promised to look into the deaths to "see if there's

any substance to the charges. If there is, we can review

it with the department at that time," he said.

Hamilton noted that both the Citizens Commission on Human

Rights and the Narconon-Chilocco New Life Center are affiliated

with the Church of Scientology.

Narconon is a controversial substance abuse treatment center

near Newkirk.

The commission began investigating the treatment of Oklahoma

psychiatric patients after the Mental Health Department

refused to certify Narconon.

Narconon appealed, and Oklahoma County Judge Leamon Freeman

ruled that mental health officials were biased against Narconon.

The Mental Health Department then hired Tulsa psychiatrist

John Chelf to conduct an independent review.

The Mental Health Commission has scheduled a hearing for

Friday to resolve the Narconon case.

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