Prague site leads state in problems
BY GAVIN OFF World Data Editor
Sunday, February 21, 2010
2/22/10 at 1:02 PM
During the first day of an early 2007 inspection at a Prague residential care home, a male resident approached one of the state inspectors.
"I need to talk to you in private," the resident said. "I got raped."
The man said his roommate at Royal Living Care Center had raped him twice. The resident then told a staff member, who moved him into another room.
"I was asleep on my side," he told investigators. "He grabbed me. I said, 'get away,' but I couldn't get away. He took advantage of me."
That was the home's second reported rape in four months. In late 2006, a low-functioning female resident was raped by as many as three male residents. She told inspectors that she was afraid of the men, one of whom "hurt me down there," she said.
Royal Living Care Center administrators declined to comment. It houses 64 people with psychiatric or medical needs.
According to state records, Anthony Thornton Sr. and Mary Ann Thornton own the center, which is four miles south of Prague. Mary Ann Thornton is listed as the home's administrator.
Since late 2006, Royal Living Care Center has compiled 70 violations more than any other facility of its kind in the state.
State Health Department inspectors found 16 code violations at the home during its January 2008 visit. That's more than double the number of violations the state usually finds at residential care homes, according to a joint investigation by the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman.
One of the January 2008 violations was for verbal abuse of a resident.
According to state reports, an employee waiting to clean a bathroom screamed at a resident to exit the room.
"I'll beat your ass," the employee said. "Do I need to call the National Guard to get you out of here? This ain't no holiday."
A review of the home's records revealed that Royal Living did not have an Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation background check for the employee and seven of his co-workers.
Such checks are legally required and protect residents from possible abusers, said Tamie Hopp, director of government relations and advocacy for Voice of the Retarded, a national nonprofit organization.
"The staffs are entrusted with caring for a very vulnerable people, so it's all for the good the more we know about them," Hopp said.
In the past three years, the Health Department has cited Royal Living Care Center six times for abusing or neglecting residents, a World analysis found. No other residential care home in Oklahoma had more.
It also accumulated other violations. During a January 2008 inspection, state officials toured the center's main dormitory and noticed that toilet paper was missing from the women's bathroom for the second straight day, inspectors noted. Also gone were hand towels and soap.
At least one resident had grown used to missing toilet paper, she told inspectors.
"What I do, I shake it off," she said.
The home's administrator said it couldn't keep the bathrooms supplied with toilet paper because the residents would take it. The state cited the center for failing to be sensitive to individuals' needs.
Gavin Off 732-8106