Investigation Finds Hibbing Adult Care Worker Arranged Sexual Encounter With Client

By KBJR News 1

February 1, 2013 Updated Feb 1, 2013 at 5:11 PM CDT

Hibbing, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A state investigation found that a staff member at an Iron Range adult foster care home arranged a sexual encounter between themselves, a vulnerable adult in the home's care and a community member.

According to an investigation memorandum from the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), an unnamed staff person at FACES North in Hibbing arranged the encounter at their home on May 5th, 2012.

The memorandum says that while the staff person denied that they were involved in the sexual encounter, investigators from the DHS said that a "preponderance of evidence" led them to diminish the staff person's credibility and disqualify that person from providing similar care services.

FACES North House Manager, Bonnie Martinson, says that the employee was "dismissed immediately" after staffers found out about the allegations in May. Martinson says that the staff member had passed a background check and had worked for the FACES North facility for "a couple of years."

The report lists the vulnerable adult's mental condition as including bipolar disorder, borderline intelligence, poly-substance abuse, and attention deficit hyper activity disorder (ADHD). The FACES North support plan for the individual says that the adult was vulnerable to “being taken advantage of financially and sexually.”

The investigation memorandum states that the following incidents happened leading up to or on the date of the alleged sexual encounter:

- About a year prior to the incident, the staff person talked to the vulnerable adult about meeting the community member for a sexual encounter. The staff person then gave the vulnerable adult the community member's cell phone number, and the two exchanged text messages "a couple of times." The vulnerable adult described the messages they received from the community member as "nasty (sexually explicit)."

- On May 4, 2012, the staff person told the vulnerable adult that the commuity member was at the staff person's home and asked the vulnerable adult if they would like to meet them. The vulnerable adult said that they “did not think it was a good idea."

-The morning of May 5, 2012, the staff person called and sent text messages to the vulnerable adult, inviting the vulnerable adult to come to the staff person's house, meet the community member and “have some great sex.” The vulnerable called the staff member back and said that they did not think that was a “good idea.” The staff person said that they would pick the vulnerable adult up. The vulnerable adult agreed and the two went to the staff person's home.

- The community member was at the staff person's home when the staff person and the vulnerable adult arrived. After about fifteen minutes, the staff person invited the vulnerable adult and the community member to the bedroom. The vulnerable adult and the community member engaged in sexual contact and sexual intercourse in a manner dictated by the community member. At some point, during the sexual contact between the two, the staff person joined the sexual encounter.

- Following the sexual encounter, the staff person brought the vulnerable adult to a family member’s house to get some money, and then took the vulnerable adult shopping.

- In the days after the sexual encounter, the vulnerable adult received more explicit text messages from the community person and an invitation to engage in another sexual encounter.

Investigators from the Department of Human Services visited FACES North on May 29, 2012 and conducted interviews with the staff person, vulnerable adult, another staff person at FACES and another community member, not involved in the alleged sex act.

Based on their findings, it was determined that the staff person was responsible for maltreatment of the vulnerable adult.

The staff person is able to appeal the investigation's findings.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.