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Investigation ends over alleged rape of 91-year-old woman

By JACINDA HOWARD

The Mirror

Federal Way police concluded their investigation June 12 of an alleged sexual assault against an elderly woman at a local nursing home.

After speaking with witnesses, attempting to gather DNA and talking with the alleged victim, police and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services determined that there was not substantial evidence to support the claim that a 91-year-old woman had been sexually assaulted at Life Care Center, 1045 S. 308th St, police spokeswoman Stacy Flores said. Inconsistencies in the claim were found, she said.

Police became aware of the alleged assault on June 4 when a nurse at Life Care Center reported that a patient said the 91-year-old woman had recently been raped on the center's premises, Flores said.

The nurse was told the assault happened a few days prior to June 4. However, another source said it had occurred up to one month prior to that date, Flores said.

As per policy, upon initially hearing the sexual assault claim, Life Care Center began its own investigation, executive director Johnathan Owens said. Such an investigation always occurs when an assault claim of any kind is reported by Life Care Center residents or staff, he said.

Life Care Center followed state-dictated policies in investigating the claim and reporting it to the police and Department of Social and Health Services, Owens said.

"The state determined we followed procedures," Owens said.

If a claim is filed against a Life Care Center employee, the facility will immediately suspend that employee until all investigations have been concluded, Owens said. He was unable to comment as to whether an employee of the center was suspended in relation to this specific case. He was also unable to reveal whether any other assault reports had been filed by or on behalf of the woman.

Life Care Center is unable to disclose this information because there is a chance that a civil case against the facility may be pursued by the woman's guardian, a court-appointed, Tacoma-based firm called Commencement Bay Guardianship Services, Owens said.

Life Care Center has not spoken with the woman's family, he said. This is because the center is dealing directly with her guardian, he said. The existence of a court-appointed guardian, rather than a family guardian, is not usual for Life Care Center patients, he said.

Contact Jacinda Howard: jhoward@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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