January 10, 1996 in Nation/World

Comatose Rape Victim To Have Baby

Associated Press
 
Tags:abuse

A woman comatose since a 1985 car crash was raped at a nursing home and is five months pregnant, her family’s lawyer said Tuesday. The family wants her to give birth, a source said.

The 29-year-old woman, a quadriplegic whose identity was withheld, occasionally opens her eyes and make guttural sounds but does not communicate verbally, said the lawyer, John Parrinello.

As to whether she is conscious of her surroundings, “I don’t know if anybody will ever reach that conclusion,” Parrinello said.

She was moved last February to Westfall Healthcare Center, which houses about 65 people with severe physical injuries or behavioral problems as well as about 80 elderly.

Her pregnancy was discovered in recent weeks, and the woman was transferred Monday to Strong Memorial Hospital, where she has been under the care of a high-risk pregnancy team.

“The family wants her to have the baby,” said a state government source speaking on condition of anonymity.

Police said several employees were being investigated for the rape of the woman sometime last August.

They would not say whether they include John Horace, 51, a nurse’s aide who is charged with sexually abusing a 49-year-old female resident in September.

The center said Horace began working there in August and was fired in September.

Horace also was charged in October with posing as a gynecologist and sex therapist and offering to conduct pelvic exams in the basement of a home, police said. He had allegedly been running the business since March.

The privately run nursing home, which opened 13 months ago, faces more trouble: The state Health Department is threatening to halt Medicaid and Medicare payments.

In an annual inspection in December, investigators “found numerous areas where patient care was not up to acceptable standards,” department spokeswoman Claudia Hutton said.

The violations included “patients not being taken to the toilet adequately, patients not being bathed or dressed, patients who had food encrusted around their mouths,” she said.

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