DNA samples sought at facility where woman in vegetative state gave birth

/ CBS/AP

Phoenix nursing facility sexual assault probe

Police served a search warrant Tuesday to get DNA from all male employees at a long-term care facility in Phoenix where a patient who had been in a vegetative state for years gave birth, triggering investigations by state agencies and police and putting a spotlight on safety concerns for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated. Hacienda HealthCare said it welcomed the DNA testing.

"We will continue to cooperate with Phoenix Police and all other investigative agencies to uncover the facts in this deeply disturbing, but unprecedented situation," the company said in a statement.

CBS affiliate KPHO-TV was first to report that the woman, who had been in a vegetative state for 14 years after a near-drowning, delivered a healthy baby boy on Dec. 29.

The station later reported that the woman is Native American, and San Carlos Apache officials announced Tuesday night that the 29-year-old was an enrolled member of the tribe, whose reservation is in southeastern Arizona some 134 miles east of Phoenix.

In a statement, tribal officials concurred that the woman was in a vegetative state when she gave birth.

The woman's name was redacted from the tribal statement.

It was unclear if staff members at the facility were aware of her pregnancy until the birth, but KPHO quoted a source familiar with the situation as saying, "None of the staff were aware that she was pregnant until she was pretty much giving birth."

Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler said, "On behalf of the tribe, I am deeply shocked and horrified at the treatment of one of our members. "When you have a loved one committed to palliative care, when they are most vulnerable and dependent upon others, you trust their caretakers. Sadly, one of her caretakers was not to be trusted and took advantage of her. It is my hope that justice will be served."

A lawyer for the woman's family released a statement Tuesday saying the family was outraged at the "neglect of their daughter" and was asking for privacy.

"The family would like me to convey that the baby boy has been born into a loving family and will be well cared for," Phoenix attorney John Micheaels said in a statement.

San Carlos Apache Police Chief Alejandro Benally said Phoenix police "will do all they can to find the perpetrator" and his department will assist "in any way possible."

In a statement, board member Gary Orman said the facility "will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation."

"We will do everything in our power to ensure the safety of every single one of our patients and our employees," Orman said.

Gov. Doug Ducey's office has called the situation "deeply troubling."

New controversy

KPHO also notes that outrage is being expressed on social media over why Phoenix police haven't called the probe of a woman in a vegetative state being impregnated, then giving birth inside the Hacienda nursing facility a sex crime.

According to KPHO, all Phoenix police have said is, "At this time, this matter is still under investigation. It is important that the investigators be permitted to conduct their investigation without being impeded."

Former chief sex crimes investigator Bill Richardson remarked to the station that people will be asking what police have to hide. Richardson said he doesn't understand why police are being secretive, and hushed.

Hacienda CEO Bill Timmons stepped down Monday, spokesman David Leibowitz said. The decision was unanimously accepted by the provider's board of directors.

Facility CEO resigns after woman in vegetative state gives birth

KPHO also spoke with a former Hacienda manager who said Timmons insisted that a 1988 incident of abuse of a different patient be covered up.

The manager said female nurses were standing around a nonverbal male patient's bed, talking inappropriately about his genitalia. The ex-manager said when that was addressed at a subsequent manager's meeting, Timmons slammed his fist on a table and said, 'No! No one is going to report this,"' even though the law required that state health officials be notified.

"I was scared," the ex-manager recalled. "Bill Timmons has a temper. And we knew not to mess with that temper because people got fired."

The Hacienda facility serves infants, children and young adults who are "medically fragile" or have developmental disabilities, according to the website.

Changes made and more called for

In the wake of the developments, the Arizona Department of Health Services said new safety measures have been implemented. They include increased staff presence during any patient interaction, more monitoring of patient care areas and additional security measures involving visitors.

The state's online complaint database for care facilities shows multiple complaints about Hacienda de Los Angeles going back to 2013. Most of them involve fire drill and evacuation preparation or Medicaid eligibility.

But one complaint from December 2013 outlines an allegation that a staff member made inappropriate sexual comments about four patients two months earlier. Nobody relayed the incidents to an administrator. That employee was later fired.

Martin Solomon, a personal injury attorney in Phoenix whose clients are mostly vulnerable adult victims of abuse and neglect, said a lawyer representing this woman should call for all pertinent medical records, a list of current and ex-employees and any past litigation involving Hacienda. It would be the police who would lead DNA testing to figure out who fathered the baby, Solomon said.

It would be hard for Hacienda to escape any kind of liability in court.

"There's a lot of information we do not have. But things like this don't happen without someone either knowing about it or should have known about it," Solomon said. "Whether it's an employee or someone from the outside, the facility has an obligation to protect residents."

Advocates for the disabled say Arizona needs to find a way to monitor allegations of sexual abuse and sexual violence in group settings. Doing background checks isn't enough, said Erica McFadden, executive director of the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

"I think when you've had somebody who's had multiple allegations from different parties, there has to be some way to track that," McFadden said. "If it's the same story from different people, then there's something wrong."

The council recently formed a task force to look at how to improve training for health care workers when it comes to identifying and reporting sexual abuse.

"We don't have a systematic way to train people what's a good touch or a bad touch. We also don't have required training for providers," McFadden said. "We really need a lot of work in this area."

Jon Meyers, executive director of The Arc of Arizona, an advocacy group for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, called the allegations "disturbing, to put it mildly."

"I wasn't there. I clearly don't have firsthand knowledge of what happened," Meyers said. "But I can't believe someone receiving that level of constant care wasn't recognized as being pregnant prior to the time she delivered."

First published on January 9, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

DNA samples sought at facility where woman in vegetative state gave birth

Police served search warrant for DNA from all male employees at Hacienda HealthCare long-term nursing facility in Phoenix

updated 0M ago

Trump declares border crisis, Democrats say he has "chosen fear"

CBS News fact checks Trump's speech

1H ago

Schumer and Pelosi's response becomes instant meme sensation

From "American Gothic" references to angry parents and Bond villains, Twitter had a field day with the lawmakers' appearance Tuesday

3H ago

Prosecutor asks for alleged victims of R. Kelly to come forward

"In order to have an investigation … we have to have victims and witnesses who are willing to come forth with whatever information that they have," Kim Foxx said

4H ago

CES Day 1 highlights: Meat-free burger debuts; smart cars get smarter

This year's show covers over 2.9 million square feet with gadgets and technologies that have the potential to change the lives of billions of people

8H ago

Trump declares border crisis, Democrats say he has "chosen fear"

CBS News fact checks Trump's speech

1H ago

Schumer and Pelosi's response becomes instant meme sensation

From "American Gothic" references to angry parents and Bond villains, Twitter had a field day with the lawmakers' appearance Tuesday

3H ago

Manchin to donate salary during government shutdown to food banks

"If Congress cannot do our job, we should not get paid," Manchin said Tuesday

9H ago

Where the government shutdown pain is showing

As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls for the shutdown to end, the fallout is spreading far and wide

10H ago

Rep. Grijalva says border wall crisis "manufactured by the Trump administration"

Rep. Raúl Grijalva represents the largest stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona

10H ago

Kim Jong Un concludes China visit ahead of possible 2nd Trump summit

Two day trip is said to have included talks with China's president amid reports another Trump-Kim get-together is in the works

2H ago

"Suspicious packages" found at U.S., other consulates in Australia

Police and emergency services examining suspicious packages, reportedly labeled "asbestos," sent to as many as 7 foreign offices in 2 cities

updated 19M ago

U.S. tensions with Turkey increase over troop withdrawal confusion in Syria

Bolton was looking for assurances Turkey will not attack America's Syrian allies

10H ago

"Now or never" for nude fine dining in Paris

O'Naturel drawing curtain on nude fine dining in Paris after a little over a year despite rave reviews

12H ago

Thousands protest longtime leader's rule in Sudan

Omar al-Bashir is one of the longest serving leaders in the region

15H ago

Prosecutor asks for alleged victims of R. Kelly to come forward

"In order to have an investigation … we have to have victims and witnesses who are willing to come forth with whatever information that they have," Kim Foxx said

4H ago

Disgraced director thanks Golden Globes for award

Stars and critics have taken issue with "Bohemian Rhapsody" director Bryan Singer, who welcomed a Golden Globe win on Instagram

12H ago

Regina King gets support for her Golden Globes vow

In her acceptance speech at Sunday night's Golden Globes​, King vowed to hire 50 percent women for all her production projects going forward

16H ago

Kevin Spacey pulled over for speeding after court appearance

Kevin Spacey pleaded not guilty to groping 18-year-old in first criminal case brought against disgraced actor

18H ago

Jackson endorses congresswoman's use of "motherf*****"

"I just wanna Wholeheartedly endorse your use of & clarity of purpose when declaring your (expletive) goal," the actor told Tlaib on Twitter

Jan 7

CES Day 1 highlights: Meat-free burger debuts; smart cars get smarter

This year's show covers over 2.9 million square feet with gadgets and technologies that have the potential to change the lives of billions of people

8H ago

Hacker confesses to stealing data from German leader, other politicians

Officials said the hacker leaked the data because he was "annoyed" by some of the victims' public statements

15H ago

Second grader wins Google Doodle contest

She's only in second grade, but she just got one step closer to fulfilling her dream of becoming a paleontologist

16H ago

Amazon surpasses Microsoft as most valuable U.S. company

Stock market's recent turmoil has shifted the fortunes of America's biggest companies as Apple falls to No. 4

Jan 7

Running blind

A rare condition that left Simon Wheatcroft completely blind by age 27 has not slowed the marathon runner down, as he tests new technologies he hopes will help the visually-impaired

Jan 6

U.S. woman dies from rabies after dog bite abroad

The woman got sick after returning home from an extended yoga retreat in India

12H ago

Millions of Americans incorrectly think they have food allergies

New research suggests many adults who think they have a food allergy actually have an intolerance

17H ago

N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Hillary Clinton tout stronger abortion rights

The Democrats shared the stage Monday at Barnard College in Manhattan to urge the codifying of abortion rights in New York state law

Jan 7

Income volatility is bad for your wallet — and health

Unpredictable changes in Americans' income are on the rise and associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease

Jan 7

Is it a cold or flu? 5 questions to ask yourself

Here are some simple ways to help determine whether your illness is a cold or the flu

11H ago

Where the government shutdown pain is showing

As the U.S. Chamber of Commerce calls for the shutdown to end, the fallout is spreading far and wide

10H ago

Hundreds of federal workers hit by shutdown seek online donations

As the impasse in Washington drags on, some government workers are soliciting donations online to help make ends meet

8H ago

Stocks climb on optimism over U.S.-China trade talks

Investors have become notably more hopeful about an eventual deal, a sharp reversal from previous months

13H ago

Sears a "case study" in how not to run a retailer

Although its former billionaire owner still wants to salvage the 126-year-old merchant, the damage is already done

13H ago

What government shutdown means for mortgages

Many can expect minor delays — or worse — with the already complicated process of getting and managing a mortgage

14H ago

DNA samples sought at facility where woman in vegetative state gave birth

Police served search warrant for DNA from all male employees at Hacienda HealthCare long-term nursing facility in Phoenix

updated 0M ago

2nd man charged with murder in 7-year-old girl's shooting

Authorities say the two men mistakenly thought they were attacking people they'd previously fought at a club

12H ago

Police investigating 2nd death at Democratic donor's home

Democratic Party donor Ed Buck has contributed to various California races and causes

10H ago

Missing baby's "abduction" staged to hide foul play, police say

Police now believe King Jay Davila was never in the car his father said the boy was inside when a woman drove off

15H ago

Assailant sentenced for beating black man in Charlottesville

Daniel Borden was one of four charged with beating a black man on the day of a white nationalist rally in 2017

17H ago  Original Article