APACHE JUNCTION, AZ — Apache Junction police are investigating allegations of sexual assault inside Visions Assisted Living of Apache Junction. The alleged incident involves two memory care patients, one of whom suffers from severe dementia.
Kimberly Martinez, who agreed to go on camera to highlight her concerns, tells ABC15 her mother is a resident in the memory care facility at Visions Assisted Living of Apache Junction and suffers from severe dementia, is mostly non-verbal and unable to give consent. She said many of the patients living in the same assisted living facility are very vulnerable.
"In the memory care facility, they should be constantly, continually observed," said Martinez.
ABC15 has just obtained police reports filed with the Apache Junction police department. In the report, witnesses state:
"Room number 13 was locked. The med tech heard the resident talking to someone in the room." The report goes on to state when staff unlocked the door, they found the male resident of that room standing over Martinez's mother (whom ABC15 chose not to name). In police reports, staff stated both were naked from the waist down, and were found in a sexually compromising position. The male resident told staff he had been teasing the female patient, and that they had not had sexual intercourse.
In police reports, staff state: "It was after lunch, we were toileting, she was not in our sight for ten minutes."
Martinez said she believed the facility was negligent as they were aware her mother had a history of wandering around the facility, even into other people's rooms on occasion. She also questioned why residents in such a vulnerable state were able to lock their doors from the inside.
During an attempted police interview, police reports stated the female resident just "smiled greatly" at all of their questions.
The male resident indicated they had a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship, but Kimberly stressed her mother was not able to communicate verbally, let alone give anyone consent to have a physical relationship with her.
Martinez said she knew her mom to be very shy, especially when it came to people bathing her, dressing her, or touching her during daily grooming activities.
Despite the situation, Martinez did not place blame with the male resident. A staff member at the facility had informed her that he too had some mental cognition issues.
"I was told this individual laughed and snickered as a child would when you asked them how many cookies have you ate? That's exactly the type of response he had," said Martinez.
"Due to his mental state, I really blame the facility for not following protocols," she added.
"To see her in that state, and be just so vulnerable is really just heart-wrenching," said Kimberly. She has now been able to move her mother into a different memory care facility.
ABC15 reached out to SAL Management Group that oversees Visions Assisted Living of Apache Junction. A spokesperson sent this statement:
"SAL Management Group is dedicated to the quality care and safety of our residents. Elder abuse of any kind is not tolerated and the proper authorities are contacted should there be an incident. We are limited in what we can discuss due to privacy laws, however we can confirm the following:
- The female resident had been a part of the community since 2017 without any prior incident or family complaint.
- The community was fully staffed at the time of the incident, all protocols were followed.
- Upon receiving the incident report, the community’s Administrator immediately alerted all proper governing authorities, the police and female resident’s family member.
- A full assessment was completed by a licensed Nurse Practitioner within 24-hours. The assessment was immediately provided to the family member.
- It was the family members decision to not transport the resident off-site for additional medical observation.
- The male resident never exhibited any assault behaviors prior to or following this incident. However, as a precaution, he was immediately moved to a separate building.
- We will continue to work with authorities; however, to-date, we have not received any further contract from the police regarding this incident."
Martinez questions some of the facilities' claims, saying she was not contacted until almost 24 hours after the incident occurred. She also states she is the one who called Apache Junction police, not the facility.
Martinez's lawyer also released the following statement:
"On behalf of our client, Mushkatel, Robbins & Becker, PLLC intends to utilize any and all available mechanisms in the judicial system to hold SAL Management Group accountable for the substandard care, treatment and lack of appropriate supervision legally and contractually owed to our client’s mother. This Firm was hired to fulfill our client’s intentions, and we expect to be successful in our representation."