Ormond Beach nursing home hit with $36K fine after sexual assault allegation



An Ormond Beach nursing home was slapped with a $36,000 fine by the state after being accused of failing to report an alleged sexual assault.

The report found the Avante nursing home's actions put other residents in danger.

Many of the residents are fully dependent on workers at the facility, which is why loved ones who talked to Channel 9 said they were concerned when they heard that staff didn't report an alleged sexual assault to police until a state agency got involved.

"That was totally wrong," said Shirley Conte, whose husband is in the nursing home.

According to state records, in January 2012, a woman told her husband that she saw an employee get in her roommate's bed.

But the director of nursing didn't find out about the alleged incident until the woman's husband wheeled her out of the building, saying he could take better care of her at home.

The report said instead of following Florida's mandatory reporting law, staff members tried to do their own investigation and asked the roommate themselves.

The roommate denied that anything happened, but the report said the resident may have been afraid to tell staff what happened.

In a 25-page complaint, the administrator of Avante told the state agency, "I screwed up. I should have reported this."

That mistake is now costing the nursing home $36,000.

"I think they've learned their lesson," said Conte.

Conte said her husband always seems well-cared for, and she hopes that the state will help ensure that all nursing homes treat the elderly with the dignity they deserve.

"We're all going to be there one day, including myself. We have to care for them," she said.

Ormond Beach police did investigate the allegation of abuse, but investigators did not file any charges.

Avante is now on a federal and state watch list, so it will be closely monitored for nearly three years.