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Suit Filed for Sexual Assault of Incapacitated Woman by Long-Term Care Center Employee

Photo of Lena B. Laurenzo

A 30-year old woman was repeatedly raped by an employee of a long-term care facility called Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix, Arizona. The woman, who was dependent on a feeding tube and unable to speak, was the victim of a series of sexual assaults while under the care of the facility. The sexual abuse went unnoticed by the facility until the woman gave birth to a baby boy.

Since the initiation of a criminal investigation, the family of the woman has filed a lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Economic Security as the main entity responsible for providing care to the woman by contracting with companies like Hacienda and to adequately monitor them. Apparently only female caregivers were supposed to care for the incapacitated, non-verbal woman, but the subject male nurse who repeatedly raped her would do safety checks, administer medications, and would write notes about the woman's status in her chart.

Even though the woman began having physical signs and symptoms of being pregnant, such as weight gain and missed menstrual cycles, the facility began reducing her food intake as they never checked her for a pregnancy. As a result of the missed pregnancy, the woman gave birth while dehydrated and without pain medications. Unfortunately, it took a horrific incident like this for the facility to make changes to its safety and security policies.

Caregivers and those providing long-term care services have a duty to provide services in a manner that keeps the patients safe from harm. The entities responsible for contracting with companies providing caregiver services may also have a duty to adequately supervise those companies to prevent incidents just like this. Without proper supervision, abuse and injury are always a possible danger for those who place their health and lives in the hands of these types of companies.

If you or someone you know has been injured or affected by sexual harassment or abuse by another, you should contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Aziz by calling 713-222-7211 or toll free at 1-800-870-9584.

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