Man suing living center after 2008 attack on son
The father of a disabled man is suing the Austin State Supported Living Center two years after his son was violently sexually assaulted in a community shower at the institution, according to the lawsuit.
The son, a resident of the facility for people with mental disabilities, has autism, epilepsy and hearing impairment and is unable to speak, the lawsuit says. Because of those conditions, he was supposed to have a staff member in his immediate presence 24 hours a day, the suit says.
But on July 19, 2008, the then-23-year-old was left unattended, and a fellow resident of the facility rammed a blunt object, believed to be a toilet plunger, into his rectum, the court document says.
“He was found by the staff lying on the floor, bleeding heavily, with his insides (intestines; bowels) hanging below his knees,” says the lawsuit, filed last week in state District Court in Travis County.
He was rushed to the hospital with internal injuries, the suit says.
The lawsuit alleges that staff members “egregiously breached their duty of supervision.”
Continued from B
“He was never to be left unattended or alone, let alone in the immediate presence of a known, mentally ill, and violent assailant, unguarded, unprotected, and vulnerable,” the lawsuit says.
Allison Lowery, a spokeswoman for the Department of Aging and Disability Services, declined to comment on the case because it involves pending litigation.
No one has been charged in the case, which is under investigation, said Austin police spokeswoman Veneza Aguiñaga.
The accused assailant is named as a defendant in the suit, as are the state agencies that oversee the living center.
The American-Statesman has a policy against naming victims of sexual assault, and the newspaper is not naming the suspect because he has mental disabilities and has not been charged.
Texas’ 13 living centers are under scrutiny from the U.S. Department of Justice, which in 2008 reported that they fail to protect residents from harm. Independent monitors are surveying the facilities as part of a 2009 settlement between Texas and the Justice Department.
The victim is still at the living center because his family cannot afford to move him elsewhere, said Stephen Schaefer, a lawyer representing the victim and his father.
“He is still having a rough time,” Schaefer said. “He has been greatly affected by this tragedy.”