OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — An Overland Park nursing home employee is in the Johnson County jail Wednesday night after being arrested and charged with raping a resident.
“Thinking about an older woman who likely was not able to protect herself being sexually assaulted is just heartbreaking,” said Mitzi McFatrich, interim director of Kansas Advocates for Better Care.
Samuel Wambugu, a former employee at The Heritage of Overland Park, was charged with rape in Johnson County. The alleged sexual assault happened on Jan. 20.
Charging documents say he forced himself on an 86-year-old woman.
FOX4 reached out to the facility, which issued the following statement:
“Last week, our community experienced an incident involving potential abuse of one of our residents. Given the serious nature of the event, we notified law enforcement and the State authorities, as well as our residents families. Although we are not able to share details, this matter has been the subject of an investigation, and the individual involved has been arrested and terminated.
“We opened our community over 10 years ago because we love caring for people with dementia and partnering with families to provide our residents with the best quality of life possible. One of our core values has been to always strive to do the right thing for our residents, families, and associates. Another core value is to build trusting relationships through honesty and transparency. This incident has been deeply disturbing to all of us and sent a shockwave through our community.
“We are reviewing all issues relating to this incident to ensure the safety and protection of all our residents. We are a team of loving and caring individuals who value and respect our residents deeply.”
It’s been nearly three years since the last inspection at The Heritage, and records show it had three complaints investigated in that last inspection in 2019.
Normally, the state does inspections every year, but COVID-19 paused those in 2020. The facility also acknowledged to FOX4 it could not guarantee this was an isolated incident.
“One in 14 instances of elder abuse will be reported,” McFatrich said. “Many of those will never be reported. And of those that are reported, many of them will not have justice.”
FOX4 reached out to the Overland Park Police Department, which said it does not have any more arrests to make in this case.
Moving forward, McFatrich said change has got to happen.
“Facilities have to be better staffed and better trained to care compassionately and safely for older adults,” she said.
Here are some tips on what to look for if you suspect abuse:
- Call 911 first if you suspect anything
- Has the person’s behavior changed?
- Has there been any recent injury?
- Is the person more anxious, more depressed, more withdrawn?
- Look for things like blood on clothes, look for things like tears or injuries, bite marks
Here are some tips to consider when looking into care facilities:
- Research before you ever go into a facility
- Visit facilities in-person before committing
- Talk to residents who live there and talk to other family members