A Ferguson-based nursing home allowed an 84-year-old resident to be raped, the family of the alleged victim claim in a lawsuit filed in St. Louis County Circuit Court.
The lawsuit, filed by attorneys Richard Banks and Willie Gray, alleges that Delores Green's daughter found unusual bruising and swelling on her mother's body while giving her a bath at Christian Care Home in August 2018. Upon returning the following day, Green's daughter noticed additional bruises and more swelling, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit alleges that doctors at SSM Health DePaul Hospital examined Green and determined that she had been repeatedly raped.
Christian Care Home told The American it has no comment at the moment.
Green was admitted into the Christian Care Home after she began experiencing Alzheimer's in October 2011. For that reason, family members claim, Green "could not cry out for help, as she suffers from dementia, Alzheimer's, and she cannot talk."
The suit asks the court for compensation for “injuries and damages, in excess of $25,000,” as well as attorneys’ fees and costs and “punitive damages.”
Christian Care Home is a 150-bed assisted care living facility and 28-bed residential facility in Ferguson. Defendants in the lawsuit include Christian Women's Benevolent Association, which operates the home; Riley-Spence Properties, LLC, which manages the home; and CWBA Cedar Lake, a non-profit that owns the home's land.
This lawsuit is not the first time Christian Care Home has been accused of wrongdoing. In 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducted a survey at Christian Care Home. The survey report, which was attached to the lawsuit, shows that Christian Care Home did not "hire only people with no legal history of abusing, neglecting, or mistreating residents" and that it did not "report and investigate any acts or reports of abuse, neglect or mistreatment of residents."
“This lawsuit was filed to help shine a light on the under-reported evil of elder abuse in nursing homes throughout the country,” Green's attorney Willie Gray stated. “It is our hope that no other seniors will have to suffer the way Mrs. Green is suffering, as this level of depravity reaches an epic low."
The National Center on Elder Abuse reports that 1 in 10 elder Americans is the victim of elder abuse. Prevalence rates for abuse in elders with dementia are much higher, ranging from 27.5 percent to 55 percent, according to the center.
State Rep. Courtney Curtis (D-Ferguson) responded to reports of the suit by calling for an immediate and complete review of the policies and practices of Christian Care Home by the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHHS). The agency is responsible for inspecting and issuing state licenses to residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, intermediate care facilities, and skilled nursing facilities.
Just this year, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1635, which requires that law enforcement be notified when it is suspected that a long-term care resident 60 years of age or older has been sexually assaulted. The bill expands Missouri law that requires abuse or neglect to be reported to DHHS. Its reporting requirement applies to in-home care providers, adult day care workers, medical and mental health care providers, medical examiners, funeral directors, and those in numerous other professions.
“As chairman of the House Urban Issues Committee, I will use the full weight of the committee to ensure this isn’t something that happens in Missouri,” Curtis stated.