AUSTIN (KXAN) – Following a KXAN investigation the Texas Health and Human Services Commission’s Office of Inspector General is launching its own investigation in to what went wrong in an investigation of alleged sexual abuse at an Austin assisted living center.
The Health and Human Services Commission oversees the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, which regulates elder care facilities such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
KXAN’s story Monday explained that any allegation of abuse and neglect at a health care facility such as assisted living centers must be reported to law enforcement and the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS). But, our investigation revealed DADS didn’t report a case of alleged sexual assault to law enforcement and its investigator didn’t consider the fact that the alleged victim was ruled incapacitated and had a guardianship order from a court.
Late Tuesday, DADS confirmed, more than two years later, it will report the allegations we uncovered to the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and is reviewing its last two years’ worth of abuse and neglect investigations to make sure protocol was followed in all of them.
And since our story aired we’ve heard from others who say they knew about this case.
“I heard about it because everybody was talking about it,” Maria Chiman. She was working as a housekeeper at Longhorn Village in 2012 when she heard about the alleged sexual assault.
“What they said was we’re not suppose to say anything,” she explained. “They’re very powerful. Very prominent people living in Longhorn Village. They don’t want to expose anything that’s going on. everything is perfect.”
An elderly resident’s family claims in a lawsuit that their mother — who was ruled incapacitated by a doctor and judge — was sexually assaulted in 2012 by a male resident described as “a sexual predator.” They also said the male resident’s “sexual activities were known to the administration, but nothing was done to protect his victims.”
Records related to another lawsuit claim the male resident had several sexual relationships with other dementia patients.
In a state report from April 2012, the investigator says Longhorn Village’s director of health care services, Michael Little, said he investigated those relationships and “interviewed all three residents and found they were all willing and consenting participants and none had any physical injuries.”
Chiman added that the man exposed himself to her several times.
“I knocked on the door and I say ‘housekeeping,’” she said. “And he went and opened the door and I was like, ‘Oh my God, you’re naked.’ And he goes, ‘Well it’s not like you never see a man naked.’”
The male resident denies sexually assaulting any resident and says he doesn’t remember anything.
Longhorn Village has yet to respond to KXAN’s request to determine what is being done to protect female residents at the facility since the man still lives there.
Chiman says she was fired, but not for reasons related to this case. But other former employees claim Longhorn Village fired them for speaking up about the sexual assault. Longhorn Village denies those allegations.