The estate of a now-deceased dementia patient has filed a lawsuit over allegations that humiliating photos and videos of residents at a Chenoa retirement community were shared on social media.
The lawsuit seeks at least $100,000 in damages against Meadows Mennonite Home over a March incident in which the photos and videos were shared. An ex-boyfriend of a Meadows employee shared photos and videos of residents on the toilet, bathing, in bed, and in wheelchairs, the lawsuit alleges. The images showed “partial nudity and other embarrassing private occasions,” the lawsuit states.
Meadows failed to protect residents—including those in its dementia care unit—from such abuse, in part by failing to set policies prohibiting employees from using personal devices while on the job, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed Oct. 19 in McLean County court.
The plaintiffs are administrators for the estate of a now-deceased former resident at Meadows. The Meadows employee and her ex-boyfriend are only identified in the lawsuit as John and Jane Doe.
The lawsuit appears to reference Michael S. Scurlock, 47, of Lexington and Samantha J. Brown, 29, who were indicted in mid-August on one charge each of nonconsensual dissemination of a sexual image, Class 4 felony, court records show. Police located Brown, but Scurlock is still being sought by authorities.
Brown worked at Meadows, the 159-bed skilled, intermediate, and shelter care facility in Chenoa.
The facility faces a $25,000 fine from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) related to the incident. Meadows was cited “for failure to protect six residents from a staff member who mentally abused and humiliated the residents by taking unauthorized pictures and video, which included partial nudity, and posting them on social media,” according to an IDPH statement.
In an interview in July, a Meadows company official disputed the allegation that the facility failed to notify state officials about the photos. At the time, the company official also said a staff member took the photos but someone else posted them to social media.
The facility has requested a hearing in the IDPH case. A facility can request an administrative hearing to contest cited violations. The case has been continued and the next status conference is Dec. 7.
A message left with Meadows on Friday was not immediately returned. In a statement in July when the IDPH citation was made public, Meadows said its “safety precautions and policies are designed to ensure the well-being of our residents and their families.”
“We work hard to create communities of excellence and when unusual events occur, we want to understand how and why they occurred while looking for ways to prevent it in the future,” it said.
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