An 85-year-old resident who suffers from dementia was sexually assaulted by an employee at an assisted-living facility in Minnetonka last spring after the client was mistakenly left unsupervised, according to newly released results from a state investigation.
The employee, Bryan G. Becker, 59, of Minneapolis, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with third-degree criminal sexual conduct in the attack on the woman last June, a charge that alleged forced sexual intercourse. Becker pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, defense attorney Benjamin Tarnowski said Tuesday, meaning that Becker is not admitting to penetration.
In findings from their investigation released last week, state health investigators concluded that the facility, Elder Homestead, shares some of the blame for the assault because the resident was left on a porch without supervision shortly before the attack.
The resident's care plan required that she receive "24-hour supervision" at the facility, which is run by Volunteers of America. The state investigation pointed out that the woman was suffering from dementia that led to her being forgetful, lacking in judgment, being disoriented and trying at times to leave the memory care unit where she lived.
Messages were left Tuesday with Elder Homestead administrator Taryn Bartz seeking reaction to the state's conclusions.
According to the charge against Becker:
Police were called by the facility late in the morning of June 13 about the assault that happened a couple of hours earlier, and an officer was met at the locked entrance by Becker, employed there as a maintenance worker. Soon after police arrived, Becker left before his shift was over and never returned.
A nurse told the officer that she escorted the resident and two other clients from the locked memory care unit to a porch "so the residents could enjoy the nice weather." The nurse then returned to the unit to bring more residents to the porch, leaving the three clients unattended.
A receptionist could see the residents on the porch but left while the nurse was away to conduct a tour for a prospective client.
About 15 minutes after the three were left on the porch, the nurse found the resident wandering in the memory care unit hall. She was holding out her hands and wanted to wash them. The client added that she believed she was pregnant, explaining that she had just had sexual intercourse.
An exam at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park confirmed the assault. The woman's cognitive deficiencies prevented her from telling staff members or police what happened or who assaulted her.
After determining that Becker was the only male at the secure facility, detectives received a DNA sample from him. On Aug. 11, police learned there was a DNA match implicating Becker, who was charged the following week.
Becker was jailed soon after the DNA match was confirmed and then posted $100,000 bail after being charged. He remains free pending sentencing on March 4.