Former WACOSA Employee Accused of Sexually Abusing Vulnerable Adult
WAITE PARK - An investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Services says a former staffer with WACOSA in Waite Park allegedly sexually abused a vulnerable adult.
WACOSA provides training and employment support for those with disabilities.
The investigation report says the abuse happened on several occasions before December 29th, 2014. Both the vulnerable adult and alleged staff person involved in the abuse were not identified in the report.
In the report it says the staff person touched the vulnerable adult's breast and genital area underneath clothing on two occasions while working at a church. During the investigation, another incident of the staff person touching the vulnerable adult's breast was seen by another staff person.
Investigators were told by the vulnerable adult that the incidents had gone on for two years and at least one occasion also involved the staff person's genitals. The staff person denied all of the activities when interviewed during the investigation.
The staff person no longer works at WACOSA and was disqualified from any position providing for vulnerable adults by the Department of Human Services.
"The individual no longer works for WACOSA." Executive Director Steve Howard wrote in an email to WJON. "WACOSA took proper steps earlyon in the investigation to remove the individual in question from all direct contact with vulnerable adults. It was not our place to assess guilt but to allow the investigation to take its course."
The report says the facility completed an internal review and determined that policies and procedures were not followed when a staffer "failed to report alleged abuse within 24 hours as required by law." Staff at the facility were retrained regarding the Reporting of Maltreatment of Vulnerable Adults Act.
"WACOSA will always hold the health and safety of those we serve and our staff in the highest regard and will do everything possible through proper training and enforcing policy to ensure that this is accomplished," Howard said.
The Stearns County Attorney's Office says a case in regards to the incident was sent to them for charging recently. No decision has been made and likely won't be for several weeks.