A woman with developmental and mental disabilities was sexually assaulted last year by a male staff member of an assisted-living facility in Minneapolis, according to state officials.
According to a Department of Health report released last week, the employee at Whittier Place in south Minneapolis sought out the female resident outside of work hours in early November, forced her to engage in sexual acts and then threatened harm if she told anyone.
The report did not give the names of the resident or employee.
Staff and administrators at Whittier Place, which provides housing and support services to about 80 residents, did not immediately report the assault to state officials for reporting maltreatment, as required by law. A report was not filed until about 40 hours after the alleged assault took place, investigators found.
The assisted-living facility also failed to complete a background check on the staff member who allegedly committed the abuse. He is no longer working at Whittier Place. The employee’s job description included coordinating weekly and monthly events for all the residents and taking them on one-to-one activities in the community.
The Health Department cited Whittier Place for these violations, while concluding that the employee, and not the facility, was responsible for the assault.
“The safety of our residents, our team members and our community is something we definitely take seriously,” said Ryan Dieveny, president of Supportive Living Solutions, which owns Whittier Place and five other facilities in the Twin Cities that provide supportive housing for people with mental illnesses and substance use problems.
According to the report, the female resident moved into Whittier Place last October and had multiple disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Her abuse prevention plan indicated that she had a history of abuse by others, and the staff was to set “healthy boundaries” with the resident, the state report said.
Whittier Place’s senior director eventually reported the abuse to the state maltreatment hotline about 40 hours after the facility learned of the alleged assault, state investigators found.
The state report was forwarded to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office and the Minneapolis City Attorney. It’s unclear if criminal charges have been filed.
(Source: Star Tribune)