Lawsuit alleges 96-year-old dementia patient sexually abused by man at East Chicago nursing home

Michelle Gallardo Image
Thursday, September 14, 2023
Lawsuit alleges abuse at East Chicago nursing home
A lawsuit filed against a nursing home in East Chicago alleges resident were abused at the facillity.

EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (WLS) -- The family of a 96-year-old woman have filed a lawsuit against a northwest Indiana nursing home and a male resident who allegedly sexually abused the elderly woman who is a dementia patient at the facility.

East Chicago police were called to the northwest Indiana nursing home September 2. A police report filed at the time indicates that a witness had observed one of the residents fondling a 96-year-old woman with dementia who also lives there. That woman is Gloriatte Evans-Dumas's grandmother

"This has been devastating to our family," Evans-Dumas said.

After filing a lawsuit against both the alleged offender and the facility today, Evans-Dumas said she holds Harbor Health responsible for what happened because the man accused of forcibly fondling her grandmother is a registered sex offender,

"She told me she didn't have any policy and procedure," Evans-Dumas said. "She could not arrest him and she could not put him out on the street."

Evans-Dumas said nursing staff have told her that the alleged offender still lives there, unbeknownst to the other residents.

"How is it that when something like this happens you still don't notify residents?" attorney Cannon Lambert said. "There has been no effort to remove him by the facility."

According to the police report, when interviewed about the incident, the accused said: "I am dumb. I messed up," and "she never said no or to stop."

The man, however, has not been arrested and no charges have been filed, which is why he has not been named.

To make matters worse, Evans-Dumas has still not been able to move her grandmother to another facility.

"You have to make sure there is a nursing home that has an available bed for a dementia patient," Evans-Dumas said. "You can't just throw her out there."

A statement was released by Harbor Health & Rehab Thursday:

Resident and staff safety is our top priority, and our organization follows local and state regulations. We promptly reported the incident to state and local authorities in full compliance with Indiana regulations, initiating a comprehensive investigation. To respect our residents' privacy, we are unable to provide additional information without compromising the confidentiality of individual residents. Our commitment to providing residents with a safe and secure environment remains unwavering. We are working diligently with the state, and our staff continues to focus on maintaining quality standards of care.

As for the criminal investigation, the East Chicago Police Chief told ABC7 they are waiting to complete their witness interviews. Once that is done, the case will be forwarded to the Lake County Prosecutor's Office for review.