A retirement community that serves people who have worked in the film industry is being sued for allegedly covering up sexual assault and abuse that impacted at least 13 women living in the facility’s care.
The Motion Picture and Television Fund has been named as the defendant in a lawsuit filed by Nancy Renard, a retired costume designer, who claims that the facility kept her family in the dark about the dangers that another resident named Rafael Palacios posed to her and others.
According to the suit, the facility covered up Palacios’ “history of aggressive behavior and ‘sexual disinhibition.’”
Renard reportedly said that Palacios — who was a longtime employee at the retirement community before he became a resident — was found on top of her, “sexually assaulting her.”
Despite having learned about this incident and knowing that Palacios had already done the same to another resident, the staff never communicated the issue to Renard’s family.
The suit also claims that the man had been known to expose himself to staff members and that he had broken into the rooms of nine other female residents during a four-month period.
The facility’s own records show that Palacios had “68 episodes of aggressive behavior and 33 episodes of ‘sexual disinhibition.’”
The facility, which is known for its Alzheimer’s unit, is being accused of knowing about Palacios’ severe dementia and how his condition is to blame for his loss of control. The suit holds the facility responsible for the abuse and for being negligent in this case, allowing Palacios to attack others who were meant to be protected under their care.
This is the second time a resident has spoken out publicly about the Motion Picture and Television Fund. In August, Sylvia Mathes accused Palacios of assaulting her and said that managers failed to protect her. Mathes claimed that police were called to the facility several times.
As the facility is now suspected of having tried to keep one of the key witnesses in Mathes’ case from testifying, its risk manager, Joe Rich, as well as an unnamed attorney are being accused of “fraudulent concealment.”
It's terrifying to think that not even the elderly are being protected from predators by the very people who are trusted and paid to watch after them. Hopefully, as the #MeToo movement inspires more victims of all ages to come forward, real change will soon follow.