A woman with intellectual disabilities resulting from a stroke was sexually abused and impregnated early this year at a St. Anthony group home for vulnerable adults by a male caregiver who worked there.
The alleged assailant then threatened the woman and offered her $700 to abort the pregnancy in April, according to a state investigation and police records.
Divine Nde Momuluh, 39, of Andover, has been charged with one count of criminal sexual abuse by a caregiver of a vulnerable adult, a gross misdemeanor that carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.
Momuluh, who worked at the four-person group home owned by Dungarvin, stands accused of having sexual intercourse with the woman on multiple occasions, including in the basement, a bathroom and a room where he slept while on overnight duty. The victim, who was then 37, also told police that Momuluh would come into the upstairs room where she slept and “touched her during overnight hours.” She estimated the two had sexual contact more than 10 times at the group home, according to a criminal complaint filed last month in Hennepin County District Court.
“The [victim] said that ‘sometimes’ she told [Momuluh] that she did not want to have sexual contact but [he] ‘talked me into doing it with him,’ ” according to an investigation report by the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), which regulates facilities for adults with disabilities.
The victim had suffered brain damage from a severe stroke after she underwent surgery in 2014, her mother said in an interview. As a result, she had “trouble reasoning and having forethought of the implications of her decisions,” the criminal complaint says.
Repeated calls to officials at Dungarvin were not returned this week.
The alleged victim, who is not identified in the reports, told state investigators that she became pregnant in February. She said Momuluh threatened her and told her to lie about the pregnancy because he did not want to lose custody of his children, or for his children to see him in jail, according to state investigators. At one point Momuluh offered the woman $700 to abort the pregnancy, according to their report, and had someone he knew put the cash into the group home’s mailbox.
The woman had an abortion on April 28, 2018, when she was 11 weeks pregnant, because of medical concerns, the state investigation found.
The victim’s mother told state investigators that Momuluh “not only abused” her daughter, but “also put [her] life in jeopardy.” The mother told them that Momuluh was a supervisor at the group home, and there were “a lot of times” when her daughter and Momuluh were alone together during the day, according to the state report.
DHS has disqualified Momuluh from holding any position allowing direct contact with or access to people receiving services from state-licensed programs. The victim has moved to a new facility with overnight supervision.
Roberta Opheim, the state ombudsman for mental health and developmental disabilities, said the case is a dramatic reminder of the vulnerability of people with physical and intellectual disabilities. “This was a person who was not in any position to give consent,” Opheim said. “She was dependent on others in this facility for her care and … [given] the arrangement, she was probably afraid to speak up.”
This marks the third time this year that a male caregiver in a state-licensed group home has been charged with criminal sexual contact with a female resident with disabilities.
In March, an employee on the overnight shift at a group home in Little Canada admitted to police that he repeatedly raped a female resident who was nonverbal and had quadriplegia. The victim was discovered naked in the group home’s bathroom by a female staff member. In January, a 58-year-old male caregiver admitted that he assaulted two female residents at a Sauk Rapids group home, also owned by Dungarvin, “to make them happy” and “enrich their lives.” Police who interviewed the assailant later determined that the two women, both 20, could have been victimized “as many as 300 times,” according to a state investigation.
Nationally, the rate of serious violent crime, including rape or sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault, of people with disabilities is more than three times the rate of assaults on people without disabilities, according to a 2017 report from the U.S. Department of Justice. One in five violent crime victims with disabilities said they believed they were targeted due to their disability.