Family sues care facility, says mother sexually assaulted by resident

Family sues care facility, says mother sexually assaulted by resident »Play Video
A notice posted on the door of Sierra Oaks Residential and Memory Care

EUGENE, Ore. - An assisted living facility forced to stop taking new residents after a state inspection in October now faces a lawsuit alleging staff failed to protect a woman with Alzheimer's disease from being sexually abused by another resident.

The inspection and lawsuit address different issues at Sierra Oaks Residential and Memory Care.

The lawsuit alleges that a resident with a known history of making unwanted sexual advances towards residents and staff was transferred to the memory care unit, where he is accused of sexually abusing a woman with Alzheimer's disease. The family learned of the abuse in May 2013.

The man was arraigned in August on a charge of first degree sex abuse. A judge ordered the man to the state mental hospital for evaluation November 14.

The lawsuit alleges the company was negligent in not protecting other residents from a man with known behavior problems. The estate of the alleged victim is represented by a Portland attorney.

Sierra Oaks executive director Jessica Knox said they could not comment on the lawsuit due to medical privacy laws that prevents facility staff from talking about clients.

Regarding the problems found by state inspectors, Knox expects the facility will pass inspection when the state survey team returns unannounced in December.

"We have met our residents needs but documents didn't show that," Knox said. "We have amazing staff and caring compassionate people here."

The facility stopped taking new admissions October 17 after a state survey found deficiencies with care plans for residents as well as problems in 3 of the 4 kitchens.

Warren Bird with Oregon DHS said he reviewed records for 180 of Oregon's 480 assisted living, residential and memory care facilities and only found 2 that had been put under the admission restriction.

Sierra Oaks has replaced a freezer, hired 8 new staff members and put the care plans in place.

"We had to fix some paperwork. Each resident has a care plan specific to their needs. The care plan has to be done every 90 days," Knox said. "A care plan is the plan of care - how to feed them, how to toilet them, daily needs."