Disabled woman raped, impregnated in care facility in Florida, lawsuit says

Lawsuit: Disabled woman raped, impregnated at care facility in Florida

FERRY PASS, FL (WEAR/CNN) - A lawsuit filed in Florida claims a woman who cannot move or speak was raped at a healthcare facility where she was staying.

The suit, filed by the unnamed woman's family, also says she became pregnant after the incident. She was 22 years old around the time they say it took place.

The family says she was in no position to give consent because of her profound intellectual disabilities, a neurological disorder called Rett syndrome and other physical ailments, CNN said.

A multi-agency investigation has been launched into Pensacola Cluster, an intermediate-care facility. According to the complaint, the situation was first discovered in January 2018.

The woman’s only time away from the facility was weekday visits at Escambia Westgate School, an education center for people with disabilities.

According to court documents, staff at Westgate reported three times on bruising on the woman’s hip and a change in her behavior before any action was taken by Pensacola Cluster.

The woman was taken for an examination that uncovered that she had been raped, was pregnant and her hip was broken. She lost the baby due to a miscarriage.

The investigation has been closed without arrests.

A spokesperson for the sheriff's department said every available investigative technique was used to capture evidence from the pregnancy, which could be analyzed and linked to a suspect, but it all returned negative for foreign DNA.

"The results of the sexual assault kit were negative for foreign DNA," the department stated. "After an extensive review and consultation with the state attorney and (Florida Department of Children and Families), we are confident that all investigative leads have been exhausted."

The executive director of Pensacola Cluster's parent company, Florida Mentor, issued a written statement, reading in part, "We regularly review our protocols with the goal of enhancing the quality of our services and minimizing any risk to the health and safety of the individuals we support.

"We have fully cooperated with all external parties investigating this matter and will continue to do so," they added.

The lawsuit also names three employees for failing to report the incident. Their current status is unknown.

CNN said the lawsuit asks for unspecified damages and for costs covering medical and legal expenses, as well as the money that was spent moving the woman to a new facility.

The case bares similarities to another recent incident in Arizona.

In December, a woman who has been in a vegetative state for years unexpectedly gave birth to a child. A criminal investigation is ongoing into the incident and the facility where she resided.

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