Eugene, OR- An assisted-living facility in north Eugene is facing a $3 million dollar civil suit after one of their residents was sexually assaulted by another patient. This is the second time Sierra Oaks Residential and Memory Care has failed to protect their residents from sexual abuse.
The lawsuit was filed by Lori Baker, the second victim’s daughter, alleging the assisted care facility was negligent when they moved patient, Baldur Limburg, from the assisted care unit to the memory care unit. Court documents obtained by the Register-Guard stated that Limburg was moved to the special unit in spite of the fact that he did not suffer from dementia.
The assault of Baker’s mother, Lisa Low, who died in July, occurred in May of this year.
Limburg has a history of inappropriate sexual behavior and is accused of sexually touching Low and another 87 year-old Alzheimer’s patients. He was touching Low’s genitals,who was naked at the time as she was attempting to push his hands away and repeatedly told him “no.” Court documents indicate that Limburg make sexual advances towards staff on several occasions.
Staff at Sierra Oaks Residential and Memory Care called police and Limburg was charged with one count of first-degree sex abuse.
The lawsuit also stated that Limburg was seen in Low’s room earlier the same day with his hands in the woman’s disposable diaper. The assault charge was the result of the abuse which took place several hours later.
In a prepared statement, Baker said that her mother was a victim of “an atrocity that no one should have to endure.”
In bringing this lawsuit, our hope is to hold accountable those who failed in their responsibility to protect our mother, so that the loved ones of others might not suffer at the end of their lives as our mother did,” Baker said.
The facility was fined $2,500 for the assault. In October, the facility was ordered to stop accepting patients
Meanwhile, Limburg’s trial for Lows assault has been delayed while his mental health is evaluated.
The Oregonian reported that the majority of people suspected of sexually abusing residents of long-term care facilities are not arrested or prosecuted. After Low’s assault one of the staff member insisted that the authorities not be contacted.
One reason sexual assaults go un reported in long-term care facilities is because many of the patients suffer cognitive disorders and staff at these facilities don’t believe their allegations or they are reluctant to blame the abusers because they themselves are old, mentally impaired or on medication.
The lawsuit names the center’s owner, Santa Clara Special Care Community LLC; its management company, Carepartners Management Group LLC; former facility administrator Tricia Pruen; current administrator Jessica Knox; and residential care manager Linda S. Elder.
It’s horrible for a family to think that their loved one has been sexually abused but it happens. These families can seek justice by retaining a nursing home abuse attorney and hold the negligent facility responsible for failing to protect their elderly residents.