For nearly five years the family of Jean Swope has asked the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department (SBCSD) to respond to horrific elder abuse at Wildwood Canyon Villa, an assisted living facility in Yucaipa, CA. Court documents contain evidence that Swope was imprisoned and forcibly isolated at Wildwood for over a year. Caregiver records contain many indicators of sexual abuse by a male caregiver.
In 2010, SBCSD responded by threatening Swope’s daughter with arrest if she tried to visit her mom. Deputy Grant Ward further threatened to charge Swope’s daughter with a crime if she filed complaints about his misconduct.
In 2011, Captain L. K. Hamblin wrote to family that Swope was “in a safe and well cared for state” at a time when Swope was isolated from loved ones. Records contain indicators of sexual abuse prior to Hamblin’s letter.
In 2012, Swope’s family retained attorneys and investigators to obtain evidence of elder abuse, including repeated sexual assaults. Family provided that evidence to Sheriff John McMahon. There is no indication that Sheriff McMahon reviewed the evidence.
In 2014, San Bernardino County Counsel wrote, “This is to advise that the Sheriff’s Department will not be responding to her inquiries…” The Sheriff’s Department has indeed refused to respond to requests for an investigation. The Sheriff’s Department also refused to respond to a request for public records.
On January 5, 2015, Swope’s daughter sent the following letter to Sheriff McMahon. Nearly two months later, there has been no response to the letter.
RE: Fourth request for investigation possible sexual assaults, Request for public records
I request that you provide SBCSD’s protocol for investigations of sexual assault, including any indicators that SBCSD uses when investigating sexual assault. Please consider this letter a request for public records as covered under the California Public Records Act
In July 2010, we reported physical, mental, and financial abuse of my mom. SBCSD did nothing to help. My mom remained imprisoned and forcibly isolated.
In June 2011, we again reported physical and mental abuse of my mom. Captain Hamblin did nothing to help. My mom remained imprisoned and forcibly isolated.
In September 2013, I submitted evidence and requested an investigation of elder abuse perpetrated against my mom by Wildwood Canyon Villa and my mom’s temporary conservator. You have not responded to that request.
In August 2014, I submitted additional evidence and requested an investigation of possible sexual assaults on my mom by a male caregiver at Wildwood Canyon Villa. You have not responded to that request.
On November 26, 2014, we took the deposition of the male caregiver we suspect of repeatedly sexually assaulting my mom in 2011 and 2012. Our counsel asked, Did you sexually assault Carol Hahn? The deponent exercised his Fifth Amendment right to avoid self-incrimination, and he refused to answer the question.
Mid-January, we expect to receive the certified deposition transcript of the male caregiver whom we believe repeatedly sexually assaulted my mom at Wildwood Canyon Villa. We will provide that transcript when it is available.
On December 15, 2014, I sent my second request for an investigation of possible sexual assaults on my mom by a male caregiver at Wildwood Canyon Villa. That letter included indicators of sexual assault from documents created by VITAS hospice nurse Sandra Coggins, RN. You have not responded to that request.
On December 23, 2014, I sent my third request for an investigation of possible sexual assaults on my mom by a male caregiver at Wildwood Canyon Villa. That letter included indicators of sexual assault from documents created by VITAS hospice physician Victoria Rains, MD. You have not responded to that request.
This letter is my fourth request for an investigation of possible sexual assaults on my mom by a male caregiver at Wildwood Canyon Villa. This letter contains indicators of sexual abuse from medical records created by Kaiser Permanente.
My mom’s July and August 2012 medical records noted:
· Request for psychiatric evaluation
· Vaginal bleeding
· Blood clots in vagina
· Thrombosed (clotted) tissue in vagina
· Thrombosed (clotted) tissue at urethra
· Necrotic (dead) tissue in vagina
· Fissures in labia
· Foul smelling discharge
· Brown yellow fluid
· Severe agitation on attempts to conduct exam
· Physical aggression on attempts to conduct exam
· Likely history of sexual abuse
Appended to my mom’s medical records below is a letter from my mom’s temporary conservator and her legal counsel David Colella, Esq. Colella’s letter instructed Wildwood Canyon Villa to conceal indicators of sexual assault from family. Acting on Colella’s instructions, Wildwood did indeed conceal indicators of sexual assault from family and from law enforcement.
Failure to report suspected elder abuse is a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the degree of injury suffered by the victim (WIC 15630). The medical records below indicate that my mom suffered severe physical and emotional injuries from repeated sexual assaults.
To our knowledge, a potential serial predator remains at large and free to abuse with impunity. We again ask that SBCSD take action to protect other vulnerable elders from the horrors my mom faced that last three years of her life.