19.1.19

'Incapacitated' woman was raped and impregnated at Florida health facility

The mother of a 23-year-old “incapacitated person” is suing a Florida health care center after her daughter was raped and impregnated while living in the facility, according to a lawsuit.

The woman is described as “non-verbal” and “immobile,” and therefore “unable to knowingly and voluntarily give consent to sexual intercourse,” the lawsuit filed Tuesday in Escambia County said. However, authorities said they found no evidence of a sexual assault.



The family is seeking more than $15,000 in damages from the National Mentor Healthcare LLC, a company that provides care for adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. National Mentor Healthcare also operates the Pensacola Cluster, where the woman was living and where the alleged assault occurred.

The 23-year-old lived at the Pensacola facility from Sept. 28, 2010 until the beginning of February 2018. During that time she also attended the Westgate school on weekdays, the lawsuit said.

Employees at the school allegedly noticed physical injuries, including bruising to her hip, and behavior changes in late January 2018. The lawsuit alleges that the school staff notified National Mentor of the injuries, but the company failed to investigate or take “any action to protect Plaintiff from future abuse or neglect.”

It was later discovered via an X-ray that the woman had a broken hip and was pregnant, according to the lawsuit. A sexual assault exam was performed and allegedly showed she had lacerations and bruising on her vagina.

Yet the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said they conducted an “extensive review,” and results from both a DNA test and sexual assault exam were negative.

“We are confident that all investigative leads have been exhausted,” the office wrote in a statement on Facebook.

National Mentor Healthcare said there are many facts in the case that are “unknown.” The company also said they were cooperating with law enforcement.

“We are always profoundly saddened that anyone could cause harm to an individual with disabilities,” the company said in a statement to the Daily News. “In any instance of abuse, we hope the perpetrator is prosecuted and held accountable.”

The lawsuit comes on the heels of a comatose Arizona woman who gave birth in December 2018. Police said the 29-year-old was sexually assaulted and they are trying to track down the assailant. The CEO of the facility where she was living resigned as the company announced new safety measures in place.

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