ATLANTA — A former medical assistant at a metro Atlanta assisted living facility faces multiple charges for allegedly raping a resident. But, the resident’s family said what happened next shocked them more.
According to the Sandy Springs Police Department, a certified nursing assistant (CNA) witnessed a fellow employee having sex with a resident on Sept. 5, 2021.
That resident is Flora Robinson, who lived at The Mann House, a luxury assisted living facility in Buckhead that cares for residents diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia.
Robinson, who suffers from both, moved into the facility just nine months before the incident.
The CNA, who witnessed the assault, told police she walked into Robinson’s room and saw CNA Edouard Kemden naked and on top of the 72-year-old having sex with her.
"No, No! Stop that!" the CNA said to Kemden, according to the report.
After the CNA witnessed the alleged rape, she didn’t call 911. She didn’t notify police. She didn’t take Robinson to the hospital for medical care. Instead, she called her supervisor, according to the police report.
It would take nearly four days for anyone at the facility to call law enforcement.
“I was angry," said Belinda Jefferson, Robinson's wife. "I was extremely angry that I put my loved one in your care, and in a sense, I paid for you guys to abuse her."
Robinson’s time at The Mann House was supposed to be temporary. The couple, who have been together for more than 25 years, were in the process of moving into a new home. Robinson is a former automotive executive.
WHY NO ONE IMMEDIATELY CALLED POLICE
Police asked the CNA why she didn’t immediately call law enforcement.
“She stated that she was kind of in shock. She advised that she has been caring for the elderly for the past 24 years and has never seen anything like that and was not sure of the protocol,” the report stated.
The incident report shows Kemden worked at The Mann House for eight years. He was immediately fired after the incident.
That’s no excuse according to Mike Prieto, an attorney representing Robinson and her wife.
“You don't have to be terribly sophisticated to know if you see a forcible rape, you call police immediately,” said Prieto, who pointed out that a CNA is a mandatory reporter, and by law, should have notified law enforcement and state regulators.
After the CNA called the supervisor, she gave Robinson a bath, likely destroying any potential DNA evidence.
Pete Skandalakis, the executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia, says a better protocol would have been to contact law enforcement immediately.
He doesn’t blame the CNA for cleaning up Robinson.
"LOSING PHYSICAL EVIDENCE"
The police report shows she soiled herself during the alleged rape. But, he said he believes police should have been called sooner, and Robinson should have been taken to the hospital.
“As time passes, and as the caretakers take care of that victim and clean her up, you will be losing physical evidence,” Skandalakis said.
The owner of The Mann House declined to be interviewed. In an emailed statement to The Reveal, it said its staff were “shocked and devastated.”
“Steps were immediately taken to ensure the safety of all of our residents and additional investigations confirmed that this was an isolated incident. The Mann House has fully cooperated with the police and state during their investigation,” said Kristie Mann, the executive director of the facility.
The company owns another assisted living facility in Cumming, Georgia and has been in operation for more than 30 years.
An inspection performed by the Georgia Department of Community Health (GDCH), confirmed many of the same findings. The agency cited the facility for failing to report the incident to law enforcement and the agency immediately after staff witnessed the alleged crime.
PART OF A BIGGER PROBLEM
While state records do not show any similar allegations connected to The Mann House over the past two years, GDCH reports at least 396 claims of sexual assaults at long-term care facilities across the state since 2018.
Those numbers include substantiated and unsubstantiated claims made between staff, visitors and other residents.
From 2018 to November 2021, sexual assault reports dropped more than 65% during the pandemic.
2018 – 146
2019 – 148
2020 – 56
2021 – 46 (as of 11/16/21)
Vicki Johnson is chair of the Georgia Council on Aging, a state appointed advocacy group. She said she believes the drop in sexual assault claims may be connected to fewer visitors, staff and limited access to residents during the pandemic.
“There has to be opportunity and the opportunity became very restrictive,” Johnson said.
Jefferson said there was opportunity at her wife’s former facility, an employee took it and the facility waited too long to take action.
“I don't want this to happen to anyone else's loved one, and they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law for not following the rules,” Jefferson said.
Kemden is charged with two felonies, sexual assault by a persons with supervisory authority and abuse, neglect of a disabled or elderly person.
The Reveal is an investigative show exposing inequality, injustice, and ineptitude created by people in power throughout Georgia and across the country.