Friday 23 February 2018

Roz fears care-home controversy is hurting her career

maeve sheehan

A TOP Irish model whose family-owned nursing home, Rostrevor, is at the centre of allegations of elder abuse has pleaded to be distanced from the controversy because her career is being "defamed".

Roz Lipsett's mother Therese founded the nursing home, which was closed by court order a fortnight ago because of concerns over elder abuse.

Roz's two glamorous sisters, Sarah and Avilla, are directors of the company that runs the nursing home. But the 25-year-old model, who has established a successful career in the tough fashion capital of New York, has no involvement in the family nursing home business. In an email to the Sunday Independent, Ms Lipsett said she was "very devastated" at the controversy and wanted to "stay well out of it".

In an email on Friday, she asked this newspaper to remove her name from articles about the "family business". The email read: "My name has been associated with recent allegations to (sic) my family business, which I have no involvement with. They are dealing with the matter in hand but I, as a model, need to stay well out of this. I would ask you to remove my name, Roz Lipsett, from this article. It is defaming for my career and it's also against my right to earn a livelihood. Please remove as soon as you can."

Ms Lipsett is one of Ireland's most successful fashion exports. She moved to New York three years ago, has modelled for some of the top fashion houses including Versace and Burberry, and is signed with the Elite model agency in Miami. She continues to feature on the society pages back in Dublin where she was a regular on the social scene.

The allegations of assaults and physical and verbal abuse at Rostrevor are among the most serious to emerge in a care home in recent years.

They were first reported to the health watchdog Hiqa by three care staff at the nursing home in late May. The Sunday Independent has learnt that the care assistant who was accused of kicking and assaulting elderly residents at Rostrevor nursing home in Dublin has left the country.

Gardai investigating the assault allegations learnt last week that he had returned to Mauritius just days after three whistle-blowers reported him to Hiqa.

Detectives have spoken to the care assistant on the phone since his return and he denied the allegations, according to sources. He claimed he left to avoid the media and said he didn't have the money to return to Ireland.

He was suspended from the nursing home more than two weeks ago and he left the country the following week. The High Court ordered that the nursing home be closed because of concerns for the welfare of its 23 elderly residents.

The care assistant -- identified only as P -- was alleged to have banged an elderly man's head against a door jamb and asked staff to cover up for him by saying the man fell. He was accused of kicking the elderly man while he was on the ground.

In another case, he was accused of routinely taking an elderly woman patient to the bathroom on his own, and she sometimes could be heard screaming.

The Lipsetts have publicly rejected the allegations of elder abuse.

The case is expected to be in court again at the end of the month when the Lipsetts are expected to fight the closure order.

Therese Lipsett was fined €8,000 for breaching the nursing home regulations in 2005. Three years later, a nurse was accused of sexually assaulting an elderly female patient at the home. No charges were brought but the nurse was struck off the nursing register for professional misconduct, following an inquiry by An Bord Altranais. Mrs Lipsett was also struck off the register for her failure to deal with the allegations.

Sunday Independent

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