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Edgewood Vista HermantownFirm NewsSexual Abuse

Is the Minnesota Department of Health Doing Its Job?

Today’s Star Tribune features a report on a pending case being handled by the Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm. The front-page article by reporter Chris Serres is entitled, “Hermantown senior living home accused of withholding facts in rape case.”

Because of our client’s law suit, the Kosieradzki Smith Law Firm has uncovered evidence against the rapist’s employer that the Minnesota Department of Health either ignored or failed to discover in its investigation.  As the Star Tribune article reports, “The allegations against the home’s administrators raise new questions about the state’s handling of the case, and whether the facility should have faced disciplinary action. The Department of Health investigated the rape and held the individual caregiver responsible, not the facility.”

The article reports that the Minnesota Department of Health, “which regulates more than 2,000 licensed care facilities, has come under criticism in recent years for failing to follow up on complaints of abuse and hold facilities accountable. In 2011, the department received 12,262 complaints of maltreatment and self-reported incidents, but investigated only 1,023. Just less than one in five investigations resulted in findings of maltreatment.”

In other words, of the 12,000 complaints by or on behalf of vulnerable adults who are dependent on their caregivers, the Minnesota Department of Health sided against the vulnerable adult about 11,800 times in 2011!

Or, put another way, of the 12,000 complaints filed in 2011, the Minnesota Department of Health sided against the vulnerable adult 98% of the time.

With regard to the department’s investigation of the sexual abuse of our client at the Edgewood Vista assisted living facility in Hermantown, Minnesota, the Star Tribune article quotes Roberta Opheim, the State Ombudsman for Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities: “The question has to be asked: Why wasn’t the facility held accountable for the neglect of care?”

The article also quotes Mark Kosieradzki, who “argues that the Health Department failed in its duty as a regulator by not conducting a thorough investigation of Edgewood’s handling of the case. ‘Is this a situation where the state doesn’t understand where a woman is harmed if she’s raped?’ Kosieradzki asked.”

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care, including the failure to protect vulnerable adults from sexual abuse. If your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a care facility, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.