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Ashland senior care home sued over alleged sex abuse

The estate of a dementia patient who was allegedly sexually abused at an Ashland memory care home is suing the facility’s operators, saying the alleged abuses caused the patient’s rapid health decline.

The family of 68-year-old Priscilla Brower wants $7 million from Skylark Memory Care. The lawsuit, filed March 3, alleges that the facility’s negligence led to the repeated sexual abuse of Brower and others at the hands of another patient in the fall of 2018, leading to Brower’s death a month after the abuse, according to a malpractice lawsuit filed earlier this month in Jackson County Circuit Court.

Ashland Assisted Living, LLC, which does businesses as Skylark Memory Care, and parent company Mission Senior Living of Carson City, Nevada, have yet to file a response to the lawsuit filed by James Leidholdt, the personal representative handling Brower’s estate for her family.

The lawsuit alleges that Skylark understaffed its facility, which made it impossible for staff to adequately assess, assist and supervise staff, and that the facility’s negligence caused Brower pain and suffering.

According to a 40-page Oregon Department of Human Services Letter of Determination dated March 15, 2019, and released earlier this week by lawyers representing the family, state investigators determined that Brower, a nonverbal dementia patient at the Ashland assisted living home, was one of five victims who were sexually abused and orally raped on multiple occasions by an unnamed male patient with a history of inappropriate sexual behavior in the fall of 2018, a little more than a month before her death.

State investigators determined that the facility knew the male patient “displayed inappropriate sexualized behavior” before the man moved into the facility Oct. 12, 2018, and failed to adequately monitor the man until his removal Nov. 8.

The state report said the male patient tried twice in less than 24 hours to have sexual contact with Brower.

At 8 p.m. Nov. 6, facility staff told investigators they found the man in Brower’s bed putting his penis in her mouth. Less than a day later, staff found him on Brower’s bed and he had removed her pants.

Brower was “severely mentally impaired” with deficiencies in her judgment, memory and ability to communicate, according to the lawsuit.

“She did not consent, and was unable to consent, to sexual contact,” the lawsuit states.

The family alleges that after the alleged assaults, Brower began hiding in her room and demonstrating other “fear behavior.”

“After the assaults, staff had to go into her room and get her for meals,” instead of her coming out on her own, the lawsuit states.

Brower died Dec. 15, 2018, according to the state report.

The male patient first showed signs of sexually aggressive behavior with other patients Oct. 15, when staff reported him “getting naked” in female patients’ rooms and making sexual comments to female visitors. Staff ordered regular checks starting the morning of Oct. 16, but they frequently didn’t occur, the lawsuit alleges.

On the first day of the 15-minute checks, state officials noted that a span of nearly 10 hours — from 12:30 to 10:15 p.m. — was not logged.

Every day between Oct. 17 and Nov. 4 showed at least 2 hours that the patient went unchecked, and entire logs are missing for the dates of Oct. 19, 20, 27 and Nov. 3, according to the DHS report.

No hearings have yet been set in the malpractice case, court records show.

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.