Deephaven health aide cleared of abuse charges

  • Article by: Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2012 - 9:14 PM

In revised report, investigators said patient at Deephaven facility was not "credible."

State investigators have reversed their conclusion that an aide at a Deephaven nursing home sexually assaulted a female resident in March, saying the accuser was found "not to be credible," according to a revised Minnesota Health Department report released Tuesday.

Health officials had said in November that the "preponderance of evidence" had shown that the resident, who is in her mid-50s, at Lake Minnetonka Care Center had been abused twice in one evening last March.

That initial finding brought a firm denial from the center's administrator, Larry Sprinkel, who called the resident's allegations "not consistent or plausible."

The nursing home appealed the findings, leading to a revision this month by Stella French, director of the Office of Health Facility Complaints at the Minnesota Department of Health.

The report now cites a separate federal dispute resolution hearing, which found the resident in the case not to be credible, and concludes, "The maltreatment determination ... has been changed to not substantiated."

A reversal such as this "happens on occasion but not often," French said Tuesday.

The aide, 43 and from St. Paul, also denied the allegations, telling state investigators that he only helped the resident wash and dry her back and hair.

Deephaven police investigated the allegations, but Chief Cory Johnson said he found no grounds to pursue the case.

PAUL WALSH

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