A nursing home supervisor with a pattern of sexual misconduct was able to keep his job for 19 months after first sexually assaulting and later raping a nurse who directly reported to him at Cherry Creek Nursing Center (CNCC) in Aurora, Colorado. The man, Benjamin Offei, was ultimately sentenced to a year in prison and 10 years probation, but not before spending another 19 months in his job at CNCC and allowing the nurse to be falsely accused of narcotics theft, among other dubious allegations.
Inconsistently Enforced Disciplinary Action Causes Victim to Lose Job
In January 2015, the victim was subjected to sexual assault from Mr. Offei and two days later was raped in his office. After reporting the attack to facility administrators who hesitantly called police, she went to the hospital and was given a rape kit. While in the hospital, the administrators told police that she had stolen narcotics from the facility and after being searched, was found to not have any drugs in her possession. CNCC then suspended the nurse the next day. After her suspension period, the nurse returned to her job at CNCC and was later fired for 4 disciplinary write ups, which, in a lawsuit filed by the nurse, were alleged to be common minimal infractions that frequently occur among CNCC’s staff. One of the violations was for taking a call from her sick daughter while on the clock. The lawsuit, filed earlier this month against CNCC and its owner, Nexion Health, also alleges that 5 other women who worked at CNCC had been sexually assaulted by the same man and were told by human resources that complaints had to be put in writing. The women all refused to do so out of fear of losing their jobs. In her lawsuit, the nurse states that the facility put women in harm’s way by allowing a man with tendencies such as Mr. Offei’s to continue working and then by waging a campaign against victims to ruin their credibility and reputation.
Retaliation a Top Concern For Not Reporting Abuse, Sexual Assault, Other Violations
We recently addressed a news story in which 3 Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) in Virginia were fired after reportedly witnessing nurses on an overnight shift sedating patients and tying them to their wheelchairs. It is a valid concern that employees are afraid of reporting any adverse situation to a supervisor out of fear of losing their job. Just as in cases of resident abuse and neglect, reporting unwanted sexual advances and rape are also protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act. Many nursing homes have gone to great lengths to hide misconduct, abuse and neglect, knowing that reporting violations can lead to bad publicity, a potential loss of federal Medicare & Medicaid funding and even closure of the facility.
Nursing Home Whistle Blower Hotline
If you are an employee of a nursing home that has witnessed any form of inappropriate conduct or care, especially against a resident, please call our nursing home whistle blower hotline toll-free at 877-374-1417. We can help protect your rights against retaliation from an employer.