The insurer of the Seattle nursing home Foss Home and Village has agreed to pay $8 million to settle a 2019 sexual assault claim brought by a disabled resident. The victim was a woman in her 50s suffering from multiple sclerosis. She told relatives she was sexually abused, and her brother decided to catch the rapist on video.
A Hidden Camera
After his sister told him of her abuse, her brother, unbeknownst to her, hid a camera in her room disguised as a phone charger. The camera captured footage of the woman being repeatedly raped by employee Nshimiyiana Hamzat, 29. The brother turned the videos over to law enforcement.
Hamzat was arrested and charged with rape and indecent liberties. He is currently in jail, awaiting trial. He was immediately suspended from Foss.
The video footage showed Hazmat sexually assaulting her twice daily on two different days. The woman later told a local TV news station that she asked Hazmat what he was doing to her, and he replied he was trying to clean and help her. “It was really terrible,” she said. Her brother said he was glad he caught the perpetrator, but the evidence made him so sick he lost his appetite.
At the time of his arrest, Hamzat owned a small adult care home in the town of Bothell. The four residents were relocated.
Other Sexual Assaults
The disabled woman was apparently not the only resident falling victim to sexual assault at Foss. Police were also investigating the case of a 93-year-old woman who told her son a caretaker raped her. Foss told the son that the employee had been suspended, but he showed up in her room the following day.
In 2003, Foss settled a sexual abuse lawsuit filed on behalf of an 86-year old woman with dementia for $475,000. The resident was assaulted by a male resident.
Failure In Hiring Employees
The disabled woman’s lawsuit alleged that Foss failed to exercise care in the hiring and supervision of employees, as well as failing to provide care to vulnerable clients in a “safe, reasonable and prudent manner.”
Foss claimed all employees were subject to criminal background checks, as well as license and reference checks, prior to hiring.
Not-for-Profit Nursing Home
Foss Home and Village, a non-profit nursing home affiliated with the Lutheran Church, has been in operation since 1929. Rick Henry, Foss’ CEO and president, said the administration was “heartbroken and devastated” about the sexual assault.
In an email statement, Henry wrote “Had we known, we would have immediately contacted the police in alignment with our established policies and procedures. As soon as we did know, the offending employee was immediately suspended and later terminated.” He claimed the background checks used by Foss exceeded state and insurance company standards.
According to ProPublica, Foss has a history of serious quality issues, but has not been flagged by the government. It has paid a total of $133,000 in fines over the past three years.
Were You Sexually Assaulted in a Nursing Home or Assisted Living Facility?
Sexual assault in nursing homes happen far more than they should. Even one assault is one too many. Assaults on residents fall into three categories, assaults by other patients, sexual assaults by caregivers and assaults by strangers. In all three scenarios, the facility may be liable for monetary damages under a number of different theories.
Although the criminal prosecution of the wrongdoer may bring closure to victims, suing them for monetary damages is nearly impossible. Most criminals don’t have any money. You could conceivably “win” your case but never collect a penny. Hospitals, however, have both a legal obligation to protect patients and they have insurance.
If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted in a nursing home, adult day care, assisted living facility, you may be entitled to compensation.
Damages available include reimbursement for medical expenses, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of the enjoyment of life and sometimes punitive damages and lost earnings.
We can’t alleviate your suffering but we can make sure those that are responsible pay damages. And by paying damages, we reduce the risk of the same behavior taking place again.
To learn more, contact us online, by email [hidden email] or by phone at 833.201.1555. All inquiries are protected by the attorney client privilege and kept strictly confidential.