Documents: Minn. senior home impeded rape investigation

Edgewood Vista facility in Hermantown, Minn.

HERMANTOWN, Minn. - Administrators at a northern Minnesota senior living home - where an 89-year-old resident was raped by a caregiver last January - allegedly withheld information from medical professionals and suggested that the sex was consensual, court documents allege, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Andrew Merzwksi, a caregiver at the Edgewood Vista facility in Hermantown, reportedly admitted to raping the woman and was sentenced last month to 53 months in prison.

Now, a lawsuit brought on behalf of the elderly woman has been filed against the senior home, two of its administrators and Merzwski.

According to the Tribune, court documents allege that even after Merzwski admitted to having sex with the elderly woman, an administrator at the home told a sexual-assault nurse that the 89-year-old had flirted with Merzwksi and made up the story of the assault.

“Did she tell you that this was consensual? Did she tell you that she flirts with this boy mercilessly?,” Marilyn Moore, clinical services director at the home, allegedly asked the nurse.

Administrators at the home also allegedly failed to inform the hospital that Merzwski had admitted the day after the incident to having sex with the elderly woman, according to the paper.

These allegations, detailed in court documents, raise questions about whether the facility should have faced disciplinary action.

The Department of Health, which regulates more than 2,000 licensed care facilities, investigated the rape last year and found the individual caregiver, Merzwksi, responsible and not the facility.

Mark Kosieradzki, an attorney representing the elderly woman, argues that the Health Department failed to conduct a thorough investigation into facility's handling of the case.

Edgewood Management Group, a Grand Forks, N.D., company that owns the Hermantown facility, issued a statement obtained by the Tribune saying it has cooperated with local and state authorities in the “criminal matter involving Andrew Merzwski.” The company added, “The safety of our residents is of the utmost importance.”