According to a new lawsuit, a senior rehabilitation center in Portland, Oregon, has failed to either punish or report one of their employees to authorities after receiving at least six allegations of sexual abuse. Adeladilew Mekonen, of the West Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center, was not investigated by the organization where he allegedly “raped an elderly patient and sexually touched others.” Rather than disciplining Mekonen, the director of the organization threatened to terminate a “female nursing assistant… if she again complained about sexual harassment by Mekonen.”
According to the lawsuit, West Hills did not seem to discipline Mekonen in any way, in fact, after the employer did not report any of the complaints to the state nursing board, they then gave a “great reference” to Mekonen’s next employer.
In February, Mekonen admitted to “raping an 89-year-old woman and sexually abusing a 94-year-old woman” while they were under his care at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center. Mekonen, 35, was sentenced to 25 years in prison by the Washington County Circuit Court. He has another trial scheduled in June for “for sexually abusing five other female patients between the ages of 27 and 66.”
Four of the victims are “seeking more than $1 million from West Hills Health and Rehabilitation Center and its Minnesota-based management firm, The Goodman Group.” The executive director of West Hills, Nicole Easley, claimed that the organization “strongly disputes” the suit’s allegations and said that the claims are “false, misleading and without merit.”
Prior to hiring Mekonen, Providence St. Vincent Medical Center claimed that a West Hills’ representative gave Mekonen “a positive recommendation” and “expressly and impliedly” assured he should be trusted with elderly/ vulnerable patients. The Providence representative continued to claim that they had no knowledge about any patient made allegations while Mekonen worked in Oregon.
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