When I read this article, I got pissed. First, it’s bad enough to learn that an elderly lady “was sexually assaulted by a worker at Heritage House Assisted Living.” This isn’t an allegation. According to the article, “David DeLong was eventually criminally convicted of the assault.” That’s a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt by a jury of his peers.

It’s a finding of fact. Period.

Imagine how her son, Bob Krause, felt when he told the reporter “She couldn’t cry out. She couldn’t push him off. She couldn’t tell anybody. She just had to lie there and take it.” Krause would’ve been totally justified if he’d wanted to rip his mother’s assailant’s head off. That isn’t what happened, though. Imagine Bob Krause’s outrage “when state regulators investigated, they found Heritage House did nothing wrong, even though court records obtained by KARE 11 showed when another worker discovered DeLong in Krause’s room with his pants and underwear around his thighs, Heritage House waited more than an hour and a half to call police.”

Unfortunately, that isn’t the end of Bob Krause’s grief:

Bob says he wasn’t told about the attack until a prosecutor called him several months later. By then, Jean Krause had died. “I’ve asked myself over and over again, why wouldn’t they say anything and the only thing I can come down to is, you know, fear of being exposed,” Bob said.

Why is that delay so significant? In part, because it may have shielded Heritage House from a lawsuit. Unlike most states, in Minnesota the law says a civil suit dies with the victim. So, when Jean Krause passed away, so did Bob’s chance to hold Heritage House accountable in court.

“It’s one of two states in America where if you run out the clock and that person dies for an unrelated reason, the lawsuit dies with the person,” said Mark Kosieradzki, an attorney who specializes in nursing home abuse and neglect cases.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for Bob Krause to obtain justice for his mother’s attack. If the legislature doesn’t pass a bill to fix this stupidity, then it’s time to throw all of the bums out. It’s the legislature’s affirmative responsibility to fix situations like this.

Nobody deserves this lengthy string of tribulation. Heritage House let an elderly woman get assaulted. Then staff at Heritage House sat silent after the attack was detected. At minimum, the staffers who noticed the attack and did nothing should be tried as accomplices. They aren’t as guilty as the attacker but they should face prison time for their actions.

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