Sunday 25 February 2018

Care assistant (21) who was victim of sexual assault in shower: 'Home failed to act and stop attacker'

Michael Mason
Michael Mason

Gordon Deegan

A 21-year-old east Clare woman has stated that if a nursing home had acted earlier against a resident she would not have been the victim of a sexual assault in a shower at the home.

At Ennis Circuit Court in July, wheelchair user Michael Mason (69), of Sheenaun, Scarriff, received a suspended two-year jail term after he pleaded guilty to the sex assault of care assistant Caoimhe Kelly at the Lakes Nursing Home in Killaloe, Co Clare, in October 2015.

Ms Kelly or the Lakes Nursing Home were not named in the case but Ms Kelly has now waived her right to anonymity to highlight what she believes were failures by the home to protect herself, other staff members and residents from Mr Mason, who was a resident there for almost five years.

The Lakes Nursing Home is owned by Elder Nursing Homes Ltd and in an interview, Ms Kelly, from Clonlara, Co Clare, said she saw Mr Mason expose himself to another resident in the garden. Ms Kelly said: "I reported this to management and nothing was ever done."

Ms Kelly continues to receive counselling from the Limerick Rape Crisis Centre for the incident where Mason pleasured himself in the shower as Ms Kelly and a colleague showered him. During the incident, Mr Mason started to stroke Ms Kelly's hair and asked her to perform a sex act on him.

Ms Kelly left her job in May 2016. Another former care assistant at the Lakes, Zofia Yildirim, said yesterday: "I observed Michael Mason exposing himself on more than one occasion which I reported to the home."

Separately a Co Tipperary woman has claimed Mr Mason exposed himself to her mother, who is in her 80s and suffering from dementia, in February 2016 at the Lakes - four months after the sexual assault on Ms Kelly. The woman, who doesn't wish to be named, claims that the Lakes failed in its duty of care to her mother who was resident at the home.

Mr Mason remained at that nursing home before being released out of the home and is currently being cared for at home in Scarriff as part of a HSE care home package.

The Lakes Nursing Home confirmed it could not comment on any individual case but said that in the event of any issues, the relevant authorities are notified. A spokesperson said: "Lakes Nursing Home is fully committed to delivering the highest standards of care to our residents in a safe and respectful environment."

Irish Independent

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