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Abuse reported in Montevideo nursing home

ST. PAUL -- In the second recent case of Minnesota nursing home aides abusing elderly residents, an aide in a Montevideo home allegedly tormented six residents sexually, physically and emotionally for months before being caught.

The Minnesota Department of Health released a report Wednesday detailing the allegations against an unnamed female aide at Luther Haven home. The report said the abuse came to light when a nursing assistant told a supervisor in July after witnessing several incidents. The abuse went back about six months.

James Flaherty, an administrator at the home, didn't immediately return a message left after business hours.

The Montevideo case echoes another in Albert Lea, where six nursing assistants allegedly spit in the mouths of residents with dementia, poked their breasts and touched their genitals. Two female aides now face criminal abuse and assault charges; four others were charged as juveniles for not reporting the alleged abuse.

At the Montevideo home, the Health Department report said, the aide probed the genitals of a resident with vulvar cancer, performed lap dances for two male residents, and repeatedly made sexual advances toward one of the men, including touching his genitals and baring her breasts while getting him ready for bed.

Five of the six victims have Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. The female victim with cancer died before the abuse was reported.

Other maltreatment included dropping a resident about four feet onto a bed, slapping another resident while calling her names including a racial slur, and torturing a resident by throwing stuffed animals the woman believed to be her children onto the floor.

"The preponderance of evidence indicates that physical, sexual and emotional abuse did occur in connection with several allegations of resident maltreatment," said the report, dated Nov. 21. The report wasn't released until Wednesday.

The report said the home investigated the incidents and reported them to state authorities as soon as the abuse was reported on July 9. The aide was suspended that day and fired two weeks later, and other staff received extra training on vulnerable adults and the law.

The aide was interviewed by the Health Department and denied the allegations.

Chippewa County Attorney Dwayne Knutsen said he has been reviewing the case but charges are unlikely. That's because the victims' dementia limits their ability to testify, and the male victims of sexual abuse are embarrassed.

"If you abuse someone who is not able to testify and you don't have any independent evidence to corroborate that, it doesn't leave you with much of a case," Knutsen said.