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Here's how a Tri-City assisted living center is addressing sex abuse allegations

Tri-City Herald - 11/17/2018

Nov. 17--KENNEWICK, Wa. -- Kennewick, WA

A Kennewick facility that cares for people with Alzheimer's and dementia has re-trained its staff after an employee was accused of sexual misconduct and a state investigation determined the facility didn't handle the matter properly.

Fieldstone Memory Care of Kennewick was temporarily barred from new admissions, re-admissions and transfers under a "stop placement" order from the state Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).

The state agency said Fieldstone didn't follow procedures for reporting alleged sexual abuse.

That order is now lifted, said Thomas Cloutier, a vice president for Cascadia Senior Living, which owns Fieldstone.

Cascadia has required all employees be re-trained "regarding the process and requirements for reporting, and will continue training on a regular basis," Cloutier said. He also said the company has complied with all DSHS requests.

The employee -- accused of inappropriately touching three residents -- has been fired.

Kennewick police confirmed they investigated the allegations and forwarded their report to Benton County prosecutors for possible charges. The employee's name hasn't been released.

The status of that review wasn't available Friday.

Cloutier said all staff members who provide direct care to residents must undergo state and federal background checks, and they also complete "comprehensive training for the mandatory reporting of allegations of any nature."

The toll-free reporting phone number is on the back of all employee badges and "reporting questionable behaviors is a topic of regular employee training sessions," he said in a statement.

The employee had no criminal record and reference checks raised no concerns, he said.

When the allegations against the man first came to light, Fieldstone's then-executive director interviewed the people involved and felt the allegations weren't substantiated, Cloutier said.

"At this time, there were multiple failures to comply with corporate policy and state regulations regarding mandatory reporting of all complaints -- valid or otherwise," he said.

When Cascadia learned of the incident, it "immediately cooperated with the state investigation of the allegations," Cloutier said.

The Fieldstone executive director no longer oversees that facility, Cloutier said, adding the change wasn't entirely related to this issue.

"At Cascadia Senior Living, the safety and security of our residents is our top priority. We understand the unique vulnerability of our resident population and strive to hire only the most qualified caregiving professionals, while providing ongoing training, education, and support," Cloutier said, adding that his company has "zero tolerance for non-compliance and takes the state's mandated reporting standards extremely seriously."

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, sschilling@tricityherald.com


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