Tulsa Memory Care Facility Failed To Report Sexual Assault Claims To Police

Monday, April 14th 2014, 11:23 pm
By: News On 6

Last month a nurse who worked at a Tulsa memory care center was arrested after reports say he sexually assaulted a patient. Now, News On 6 learned that the facility never reported the claim, or others, to police.

In December, an 84-year-old Alzheimer's patient reported a disturbing incident at Autumn Leaves Memory Care Center in south Tulsa. She told her sister a male nurse sexually assaulted her.

Autumn Leaves did its own investigation, and turned its findings over to the health department.

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The center's director wrote, "the elderly woman described a sexual encounter with a male nurse who brought her medication."

The nurse was suspended for three days, but brought back on after the director ruled the woman's claim was "unsubstantiated."

Investigation documents show the director believed the male nurse and the allegation did not occur because the Alzheimer's patient "could not tell a straight story."

No one reported it to police at that time.

"You have to make a police report. You have to notify police. That's how the ball gets started," said Tulsa Police Officer, Leland Ashley.

Tulsa Police say Autumn Leaves' internal investigation was inadequate and the accused nurse should not have been allowed to continue caring for any patients, let alone the alleged victim, until their department had cleared him.

But that's not what happened.

Two months later, when the Department of Human Services finally reported the assault to police, Tulsa sex crimes detectives arrested nurse Stephen Reed, who is now charged with two counts of rape.

An affidavit shows Reed admitted he had sex with his patient, but said he never forced himself on her and that it was consensual.

Police don't buy it and fear Reed could have victimized others.

In fact, a state health department investigation, finished on Friday, reveals another Autumn Leaves' resident was sent to the emergency room in January with unexplained vaginal tears and bleeding, that doctors said, could be from intercourse.

Autumn Leaves never reported that case to anyone, but now health department officials are investigating whether that patient could have been a victim of sexual assault.

The spokesperson for Autumn Leaves said, in a statement, "safety is a top priority," and defended the center's decision not to call police, saying "it's only required to report it to DHS."

But in a phone conversation Monday, a state official supervising the investigation said state law does require them to report alleged crimes to police and the center should know that.

She went on to say, "I've never seen anything like this, where there's been such a misrepresentation of information and an investigation was not taken seriously."

Police are taking this seriously and, while they admit crimes involving Alzheimer's patients do present many challenges, detectives are trained and equipped to deal with them.

"This disease, it does render itself to the point where you, a lot of time, can't express yourself and maybe what has happened to you. As an investigator you still have to go forward," Ashley said.

I've learned that the administrator of Autumn Leaves Memory Care Center is no longer with the company. The health department is pursuing possible charges against her for lying on official reports.