Care aide molested resident at Deephaven nursing home, state concludes

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2012 - 12:54 AM

Officials at Lake Minnetonka Care Center in Deephaven dispute the allegations; police are investigating.

State investigators have concluded that an aide at a Deephaven nursing home sexually assaulted a female resident twice one evening last March while he helped her shower, leaving the woman distraught and feeling "violated," according to a report released Tuesday.

An official of the home, Lake Minnetonka Care Center, disputed the report, challenging the woman's credibility.

The resident, who is in her mid-50s, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and personality disorder.

Investigators also found that the aide, a contract employee with a history of domestic disputes, had known for at least a year that he was "disqualified from patient contact," the report said.

The aide's contractor, Soul Care LLC of Minneapolis, knew of the state prohibition "but continued to schedule him to work at skilled nursing facilities," the report added.

Soul Care administrator Dane McLain acknowledged Tuesday knowing about the restriction on the aide, but said the agency employee who sent him to the nursing home did not know.

McLain said the nursing home had taken legal action against his agency, adding that his insurance company settled with the home for a sum he would not disclose.

Jeff Sprinkel, administrator of the home, disputed the state's findings, calling the resident's allegations "not consistent or plausible,'' even though investigators said only the aide, not the home, was to blame.

"This resident has made multiple unfounded accusations" of a similar nature in the past, Sprinkel said, and he characterized her as prone to "manipulation" and "delusions."

The state investigation, however, said nursing home staff members "revealed [the woman] had no history of sexual abuse allegations at the facility."

Investigators found that the aide was accused of twice inserting his finger into the woman's vagina. Three days later, the report said, the resident was having "crying spells and was anxious and nervous."

The woman told investigators that she felt "invaded, upset, sore" and "filthy, violated" afterward. She added that this was the first time this particular aide had tended to her, and that he also forced her to hug him.

The aide denied the allegations, the report said, contending that he only helped her wash and dry her back and hair.

Deephaven police are investigating the allegations but have yet to interview the aide. Chief Cory Johnson said, however, that he doubted that the 43-year-old man, who lives in St. Paul, would be prosecuted.

"The guy has denied everything" through the state's investigation, said Johnson, who also noted the lack of direct witnesses. "Without a confession, it's not going to go anywhere."

The Health Department report did not identify either the aide or the resident.

McLain said the aide had "built up a really good rapport with other homes" during his 11 years as a contract worker.

He acknowledged that the aide had been placed on restriction two other times for domestic troubles with his wife, but was reinstated both times.

Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482

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