A Dixon residential facility that has been serving intellectually and developmentally disabled residents, some of which are also visually and hearing impaired, since 1997 was assigned an “immediate jeopardy tag” on June 8 by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). That state agency oversees the administration of assisted living facilities, including residential living facilities and nursing homes like the Jack Mabley Developmental Center, also known as the Mabley Center, which is located on 13 acres at 1120 Washington Avenue and houses 116 residents.
The sexual assault of one resident by a fellow one on May 14 is what prompted this labeling. So, the IDHS informed the Jack Mabley Development Center to propose an abatement plan to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) by June 15 in which they’d need to inform the state agency why the alleged sexual assault occurred and what steps they were going to take to ensure similar situations didn’t happen again.
What Led to the Launch of the Sexual Assault Allegations
A preliminary investigation conducted by the IDHS and its own Office of the Inspector General (OIG), the Office of Executive Inspector General (OEIG), and the Illinois State Police was launched after a staff member reported to the IDHS on May 14 that they’d discovered two residents with genitals exposed on May 14. A separation, notification of the residents’ families, adjustment to their respective service plans, and subsequent reassignment to separate homes occurred.
The OEIG later removed itself from the investigation on the grounds that the matter didn’t fall under its jurisdiction, despite the fact that it regularly investigates state agencies. The state police acted similarly by responding that it didn’t find this to be an incident in which the alleged sexual abuse occurred due to neglect or abuse at the residential facility staff’s hands and, thus, wasn’t something they were authorized to investigate further.
Responsibilities Assisted Living Facilities Have With Regard to Sexual Consent and Sex Education
Illinois law, and more specifically Il PA 101-0506, outlines how residential living facilities like the Jack Mabley Developmental Center have an obligation to assess their residents’ abilities to consent to sexual activity and offer them subsequent sex education instruction that corresponds with their intellectual level.
While the IDHS has not yet accused the residential facility of having neglected to perform these required assessments and instruction, it could occur, depending on whether the developmental center provides the required evidence of having complied with the above-referenced law. If the Jack Mabley Development Center was found to have not complied with the law, it could not only result in the imposition of fines but also the loss of Medicaid and Medicare payments they’re receiving.
Should the IDHS investigation ultimately result in a ruling against the Mabley Center, the residential facility is allowed to appeal the ruling for the imposition of any fines and other penalties assessed.
Why Sexual Assault Cases Like These Matter
When we place our vulnerable loved ones in an assisted living facility, we entrust those facilities to comply with the law and do everything within their command to keep our loved ones safe from harm. When they drop the ball and don’t do that, it may entitle them or their guardians to file suit to recover damages for the violations of law, abuse or neglect, and other oversights or illegalities.
In these cases, recovering damages (monetary compensation) sends a message to those who acted inappropriately that there are consequences for their actions. It also hopefully deters them from engaging in similar activities in the future, so no one has to deal with the ill effects of poor decision-making like you or your loved ones might have had to contend with.
Please reach out to our law firm in Chicago if you or a loved one have been subjected to a sexual assault in Illinois or any other type of abuse in an assisted living facility so we can apprise you of your rights to hold the liable parties accountable for their actions.