Lawsuit says disabled woman was raped and impregnated at care facility

Florida mother’s lawsuit claims her non-verbal, wheelchair-bound daughter, 23, was raped and impregnated at health care facility

  • Lawsuit alleges that a woman suffering from genetic disorder Rett Syndrome was raped and impregnated while living at the Pensacola Cluster facility
  • Pregnancy was discovered in January 2018 after staff at the victim’s school found bruising on her hip 
  • The 23-year-old, who is non-verbal and immobile, was two or three weeks pregnant; she later suffered a miscarriage 
  • Escambia Sheriff’s Office investigated but could not identify a suspect due to lack of DNA evidence 
  • The Florida lawsuit comes on the heels of a similar case out of Phoenix, where a woman in a vegetative state was impregnated and delivered a baby last month

A Florida mother has filed a lawsuit against a company operating a Pensacola health care facility, claiming that her severely disabled, wheelchair-bound 23-year-old daughter was raped and impregnated there.

The civil complaint filed on Tuesday in the First Judicial Circuit Court in Escambia County names as defendants the National Mentor Healthcare and three individuals officials.

According to the lawsuit, which seeks $15,000 in damages, the victim, identified only by her initials, ‘JEC,’ lived at National Mentor Healthcare’s Pensacola Cluster facility between September 28, 2010 and February 7, 2018.

The 23-year-old is described in the court filing as non-verbal, immobile and suffering from a rare generic neurological disorder called Rett Syndrome, along with other intellectual and physical disabilities.

A lawsuit alleges that a 23-year-old developmentally and physically disabled woman was raped and impregnated while living at the Pensacola Cluster health care facility in Florida (pictured)  

She has trouble using her hands and arms, and requires a feeding tube. The lawsuit say the patient was completely dependent on the caregivers at the 24-bed facility.

While living at Pensacola Cluster, the woman attended Westage School for children and young adults suffering from disabilities, reported CNN.

According to the lawsuit, in January 2018, staff at Westgate School were changing the student’s diaper when they found bruising on her hip.

They also noted that the young woman was crying and appeared to be in pain.

School officials repeatedly reached out to Pensacola Cluster administrators by phone and email to let them know of the injuries, but according to the lawsuit, staff at Florida Mentor, which is part of the National Mentor Healthcare, failed to pass the information along to the Florida Adult Abuse Hotline, or seek medical treatment for the woman.

Carol Swanson, executive director of Florida Mentor, said in a statement to multiple news outlets that the company has fully cooperated with the investigation and will continue to do so.

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The victim attended Escambia Westgate School, where in January 2018 staff found bruising on her hip, which eventually led to the discovery that the woman was pregnant   

‘We take our obligation to ensure the well-being of those we serve very seriously, including compliance with all reporting requirements,’ the statement read. ‘As part of our overall commitment to continuous quality improvement, we regularly review our protocols with the goal of enhancing the quality of our services and minimizing any risk to the health and safety of the individuals we support.’

Eventually, the 23-year-old patient underwent a medical exam, which revealed that she had a broken hip and that she was two or three weeks pregnant.

Doctors conducting the exam also observed cuts and bruises on the victim’s vagina, and injuries to her inner thigh consistent with a sexual assault, according to the complaint.

The lawsuit reveals the woman’s pregnancy ended in a miscarriage. It also points out that having been declared legally incompetent, the woman was in no state to give consent to have sex with anyone.

The Escambia Sheriff’s Office investigated the rape allegations last year but could not identify a suspect 

Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post Friday that deputies investigated the incident last year but were unable to identify a suspect because a rape kit failed to turn up DNA evidence.

‘Without the ability to establish a DNA profile of a suspect this procedure will not lend itself to identifying a suspect,’ the post read. ‘We did however conduct DNA analysis, and interviews, of individuals having contact with the victim. None could be matched due to the absence of an initial profile.’

The victim’s mother, who is her legal guardian, transferred her to a different facility after the alleged rape. 

The Florida lawsuit comes on the heels of a similar case out of Phoenix, where a woman in a vegetative state was impregnated and delivered a baby last month, sparking allegations of rape. 

Hacienda HealthCare officials have been told to relinquish control to an outside party after the comatose patient shocked staff there by having a baby in December.

In a statement, Hacienda’s board of directors says it is taking the matter under advisement after its CEO Bill Timmons already resigned in the wake of the scandal.

It comes as the family of the 29-year-old victim say the center in Phoenix, Arizona, still has not apologized after the 112 pound woman, described as ‘incapacitated’ and ‘unable to make any decisions or give consent due to her disability’ gave birth.

Attorney John Micheaels, representing the Native American woman and her family, said they have not said sorry either publicly or privately.

In a statement they said hope an outside review of the facility where she lived will lead to changes ‘necessary to prevent further abuse and neglect of its patients’.

Hacienda HealthCare, pictured, has been ordered to relinquish control to an outside party after a woman in a vegetative state was raped and gave birth there


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