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Friday, 16 November 2018

Care home failed to protect vulnerable pair from resident's 'predatory' sex attacks

Written by Rick Goodman

A private care home has been convicted and heavily fined for failing to protect two vulnerable young adults from a sexually "predatory" resident.

Hillgreen Care were required to provide round-the-clock supervision of the offending young man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, because of his history of sexual abuse allegations.

But he was able to "move unobserved" around the Enfield home in north London, leading to a man and woman being abused, a judge has found.

The now-insolvent Hillgreen Care was fined £300,000 on Thursday after being found guilty of two counts of failing to provide care and treatment in a safe way.

District Judge Susan Williams also criticised the company for trying to "cover up" one of the sexual assaults.

She said the offending resident, referred to as XX, posed a well-documented risk over more than 10 years under Hillgreen's care.

"There had been incident after incident involving XX, all incidents of sexual abuse," she said in a judgment in Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court.

"He was predatory in nature, he was opportunistic, and his targets were frequently vulnerable individuals.

"It seems obvious that unless he was monitored very closely and watched, such incidents were bound to happen again, and did on three occasions in 2015.

"It was alleged XX lured a young woman, referred to as AA, into his room and had sex with her and on another occasion had sex with a man, YY.

"What happened to YY is a stark and shocking reminder of exactly what could and did happen because of the failure in oversight of this company," Judge Williams said.

"He was unable to speak, unable to communicate, unable to call for help, unable to protest."

A care worker took a photo of semen stains on YY's clothing and this was provided to Hillgreen but it "mysteriously went missing", the judge said.

"The general attitude of trying to cover up what occurred to YY was nothing short of scandalous," she said.

Hillgreen was not represented at Thursday's verdict and did not attend the trial, brought by the Care and Quality Commission.

Judge Williams admitted enforcing the fine would be like getting "blood from a stone" but said a message had to be sent.

"Any loving parent placing their child in the care of an organisation does not expect the child whatever their age to come to harm," she said.

"And when that harm has been caused by the woefully inadequate system of care then society's condemnation will be severe."

The man had faced criminal charges in the past but they were abandoned because he was not deemed fit to plead.

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