Ken Paxton

Monday, January 28, 2008

Attorney General Abbott Takes Action to Protect Residents in Tarrant County Assisted Living Facility

FORT WORTH Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott and the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS) took emergency action to protect more than a dozen residents living at Oasis Village, an assisted living facility in Tarrant County.

At the Attorney General’s request, Tarrant County State District Court Judge Fred Davis issued a temporary injunction Friday against the Fort Worth facility’s owner, God’s Intercessory Prayer Warriors Ministries, Inc., and its manager, Bertha McCoy. Emergency enforcement assistance was sought after a recent DADS inspection uncovered evidence indicating McCoy physically, verbally and mentally abused and threatened residents. A temporary restraining order was issued Jan. 15.

Oasis Village residents revealed very troubling abuse and neglect violations to state authorities, Attorney General Abbott said. Residents complained that meals were withheld; residents were locked out of the facility; and threats or physical abuse regularly were used to control residents’ behavior. Based on information obtained by authorities, it appears that Oasis Village is anything but an oasis.

Attorney General Abbott added: The Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Aging and Disability Services are committed to protecting Texans who live in assisted living facilities. We will continue to monitor this situation and ensure these residents receive the care they need.

According to DADS inspectors, at least five residents complained of McCoy’s verbal and physical abuse. The inspectors reported that McCoy attempted to control residents’ behavior by threatening them with a hammer. Residents also revealed that McCoy forced them to remove their mattresses and sleep on metal bed frames. In some cases, they accused McCoy of locking them outside overnight, compelling them to find shelter elsewhere. DADS inspectors also uncovered evidence indicating McCoy hit, slapped and cursed several residents and often withheld food from residents as punishment.

On December 3, 2007, DADS issued an emergency order to suspend the facility’s license and close the assisted living facility. DADS inspectors assert the defendants reopened Oasis Village after the emergency order expired. Friday’s agreed temporary injunction prevents the defendants from operating Oasis Village or any other assisted living facility. It also prohibits them from interfering with DADS’s ongoing investigation.