South Warwickshire former care home manager fails to protect resident from sexual assault - The Leamington Observer

South Warwickshire former care home manager fails to protect resident from sexual assault

Leamington Editorial 21st Feb, 2024   0

A FORMER south Warwickshire care home manager has been ordered to pay £10,000 for failing to protect a resident from sexual assault.

Denise Mary Clark, the former registered manager of Cherry Tree Lodge in Whitnash, pleaded guilty to an offence of failing to provide safe care and treatment, and one offence of failing to safeguard a resident from abuse and improper treatment, thereby exposing them to avoidable harm.

Ms Clark was fined £1,600 at Birmingham Magistrates Court on February 15. She was also ordered to pay £8,240 costs to the Care Quality Commission which brought the prosecution, and a victim surcharge of £160.

A female resident of Cherry Tree Lodge had a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and lacked capacity to consent to sexual relations. On October 21 2021, a male resident at Cherry Tree Lodge was found by members of staff in her bedroom, leaning over her and kissing her, with his trousers lowered and engaging in an indecent act.

Members of staff told Ms Clark what they had witnessed and suggested that that the male resident should be moved to another room to prevent a re-occurrence. Ms Clark advised action would be taken, but gave no advice or guidance to staff, and did not take action in line with the service’s safeguarding policy or make referrals to other agencies.

On November 2 2021, a member of staff found the same male resident on top of the same female resident engaging in sexual activity with her. As a result of this incident police were called and the man was arrested on suspicion of rape on the basis that she did not have capacity and was unable to consent.

The man was interviewed by Warwickshire Police and released under investigation. No further action was subsequently taken by the police on this matter.

An investigation by the CQC found that Ms Clark failed to adequately assess and mitigate the risks posed by this man and protect the female resident living at Cherry Tree Lodge from abuse and improper treatment, leading to this incident.

Amanda Lyndon, CQC deputy director of operations in the midlands, said: “The registered manager’s failure to protect a vulnerable woman in its care from a resident who was known to present a threat is appalling. What makes it much worse is the harm she was subjected to was potentially avoidable if Denise Mary Clark had done what was required of her under CQC regulations and the safeguarding policy.

“The majority of registered managers do an excellent job but when they don’t, we can and will take action to hold them to account and protect people.

“I hope this case reminds care managers they must always take all reasonable steps to manage risks to people’s safety, including ensuring people are safeguarded from abuse.”

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