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Continued: Hermantown senior living home accused of withholding facts in rape case

  • Article by: CHRIS SERRES , Star Tribune
  • Last update: February 21, 2014 - 11:09 PM

Appeared to defend rapist

Attorneys for the woman allege that administrators at Edgewood never informed the hospital that Merzwski had already admitted to having sex with the woman. In testimony, a sexual assault advocate who visited the victim at the hospital said she had multiple conversations with Edgewood staff but was never told about Merzwski’s admission to police.

Days later, an administrator at Edgewood Vista appeared to defend the rapist even after his admission to police.

According to court testimony, Marilyn Moore, clinical services director at the home, asked Flesvig, “Did she tell you that this was consensual? Did she tell you that she flirts with this boy mercilessly?”

In a separate conversation with Mary Salisbury, a sexual assault advocate, Moore said she thought the elderly woman “was making it up,” and referred to the woman as a “flirt.”

“I was just shocked that somebody was so blatantly putting the blame on this woman,” Flesvig said. Moore could not be reached for comment Friday.

Mark Kosieradzki, the victim’s attorney, 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.

Since the case came to light, sexual assault advocates said they were amazed that the rape survivor persisted with her claims amid the obstacles.

“I don’t have the adjectives that would best portray … this woman’s courage,” said Iris Freeman, director of the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project at William Mitchell College of Law. “There was a resilience and a fierceness in her that allowed her to be superhuman and help herself.”

Chris Serres • 612-673-4308

Twitter: @chrisserres

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