Sexual attacks at Jacksonville senior living facility have families concerned

Investigative reports confirm 3 assaults reported in 2018 at Regency facility

By Jim Piggott - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After News4Jax aired a disturbing report Wednesday about three residents being sexually assaulted at an assisted living facility in Regency this year, family members visiting loved ones on Thanksgiving said they want more information from the Brookdale Senior Living home.

According to a police report, a 94-year-old woman was raped in April while getting out of bed at the home on Atrium Way. Attorney Tom Edwards, who represents the woman's family, said a man in scrubs attacked her from behind, threw her on the bed and raped her.

The report said the man took off when a nurse heard the woman, known as Jane, screaming. She was taken to a hospital, where it was determined she was sexually assaulted. Her family plans to sue the facility.

Based on DNA tests, Edwards said he does not believe Jane was attacked by a staff member. Police reports confirm other attacks have been reported at the facility in 2018, including another rape and a sexual assault. 

No arrests have been made, and there was only a vague description of a suspect.

Family members of other patients said they are concerned about safety.

“They just called us and said somebody was breaking into residents' homes, (their) rooms. But other than that, they really have not said much,” said Tom Gristino, who was visiting the facility Thursday.

Others said they received similar calls and were told the facility is trying to add more security.

A former employee, who asked not to be identified, told News4Jax she left the senior living facility because she felt it was not safe. She said that before the reported rapes involving someone dressed in scrubs, someone matching a similar description was breaking into patients' rooms and stealing narcotics. 

Edwards also said there were reports of crimes before the rape.

A patient heading out for the holiday Thursday said she's lived at the facility for about three weeks and doesn't blame the staff or the facility for the attacks. She said she feels safe there. 

News4Jax contacted Brookdale Senior Living, which owns many nursing facilities, for comment again on Thursday, and a spokesperson reiterated the company's statement:

Our primary concern is our residents. We continue to work with local law enforcement on their investigation related to this incident by a third party. While we do not believe some of the statements made by the attorney are accurate based upon the investigation by local law enforcement, we cannot comment further because of the pending litigation and the privacy of our residents.

Jacksonville police confirm their investigation is ongoing.

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