Nursing home’s insurer pays out $8 million to settle claims that a disabled woman was sexually abused.
The insurance company for Foss Home and Village in Seattle nursing has agreed to pay $8 million to settle a 2019 lawsuit brought on behalf of a sexually assaulted disabled woman. The suit alleges the center was negligent in its hiring of a sexual predator and its failure to have a system in place that ensured the plaintiff’s care was “monitored and properly supervised.”
The plaintiff, a woman in her 50s with multiple sclerosis, told her relatives about the abuse and her brother placed a hidden camera disguised as a phone charger in her room. “The video captured the woman being repeatedly raped by a male employee,” according to King County prosecutors. Nshimiyiana Hamzat, 29, was charged with “rape and indecent liberties” the year the lawsuit was brought and is behind bars awaiting trial.
“They had one male staffer cleaning the genitalia of disabled females,” said plaintiff’s attorney Darrell L. Cochran who worked on the case with attorney Kevin Hastings. “That’s a terribly dangerous practice.”
The Department of Social and Health Services’ Adult Protective Services, Seattle Police Department and Foss, performed an independent investigation, which concluded that the abuse occurred. According to the plaintiff’s lawsuit, “Foss Home and Village failed in its duty to provide care to vulnerable clients in a reasonable, safe and prudent manner, including failing to exercise care in hiring, retaining and supervising employees.”
Foss Home and Village CEO and President Rick Henry responded, “We are heartbroken and devastated that our resident was sexually assaulted. Had we known, we would have immediately contacted the police in alignment with our established policies and procedures. As soon as we did know, the offending employee was immediately suspended and later terminated. Foss continually reviews its hiring processes and uses ardent background checks which exceed state and insurance company guidelines.”
Cochran said, “Everyone should be on the alert for their elderly family and friends because sometimes assistant living homes have good policies but really bad practices.”
The victim herself stated, “I asked him, “What are you doing to me? He said back to me, ‘I’m trying to help you, I’m trying to clean you.’ It was really terrible.” She has since been removed from the facility. However, her brother said that she will likely never be the same after the physical and emotion distress.
“She asks the same questions, ‘Why this happen to me?’” said her brother. “I know that she will never forget that trauma what happen to her to the end of her life.”
The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) fined Foss Home and Village $3,000 because the facility, “failed to ensure a resident remained free of sexual abuse perpetrated by a staff member during provision of personal care.” In a letter to the nursing home, DSHS also noted multiple “issues” Foss had. DSHS said it found Hamzat owned an unaffiliated adult home in Bothell and the license for this facility has been revoked.