Office of the Attorney General News Release Archive

Thursday, May 3, 2001


Cornyn Alleges Chronic Neglect at Careage Place Led to Sexual Assaults

AUSTIN - Texas Attorney General John Cornyn has taken legal action against a nursing home in Denton County that allegedly failed to provide for the minimum health and security of its residents, leading even to sexual assaults and other abuses. The Attorney General has requested a jury trial in this case, as well as civil penalties of up to $20,000 per violation. The civil enforcement suit was filed in Denton County District Court.

Careage Place in Pilot Point northeast of Denton has been cited by the Department of Human Services (DHS) for several violations documented by investigators that allegedly occurred at various times from January through September 1999. Key information known to the nursing home officials was not accurately reported to the local police.

"It is unconscionable that a nursing facility such as this would go to such lengths to, in effect, place those least able to protect themselves in danger," said Attorney General Cornyn. "My office plans to pursue this case to a successful conclusion."

Specifically, DHS investigators were later able to confirm that some information had not been disclosed to police investigators when officers compiled their initial investigation. State investigators found that in January 1999 nursing staff allegedly allowed a stranger to wander into the residential area unescorted.

On the same day, a resident reported that a man entered her room and exposed himself. Another resident, complaining that her bruised legs hurt, recounted to nursing staff that she had been forced to fight off a man trying to sexually assault her. Following these incidents, facility administrators assured DHS inspectors that they would provide alarms on the doors and adhere to strict lock-down requirements as preventive measures.

Then in August, another resident was attacked and sexually assaulted. A review of records and interviews with staff revealed that at least one of the doors leading from this residential area to the outside had allegedly been left unlocked, a clear violation of facility regulations to ensure security of residents. The management has also failed to install the door alarm system, as promised months earlier.

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Contact: Mark Heckmann, Tom Kelley or Jane Dees Shepperd at (512) 463-2050.
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