OP Healthcare disciplined

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By BILL DWYER

Oak Park Healthcare Center, 625 N. Harlem Ave. was fined $10,000 by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for failing to protect a disabled resident from sexual assault by another drunken resident. 

The facility has been fined a total of $30,000 by the IDPH for three incidents dating back to December 2001.

The healthcare center's administrator, Jeff Kalkowski, said Tuesday that the facility has requested a hearing on the fine. Kalkowski said the facility, which doesn't deny the basic facts of the incident, will rebut the overall assessment, or "statement of deficiencies," regarding the center's fitness by the IDPH.

"The reason we're refuting the statement of deficiencies is that it's not necessarily accurate," said Kalkowski. That hearing has not yet been scheduled.

The disciplinary action stems from an incident in which a resident of the facility reportedly returned from a pass the night of Aug. 7 intoxicated. He was ordered by staff to go to his room and sleep it off, but instead began roaming about unsupervised parts of the facility, according to a witness. He was later seen by an employee allegedly zipping his pants while leaving a resident's room "in a hurry." Another resident reportedly told facility staff that she saw the resident on top of the victim.

When administrative staff confronted the offender regarding his actions, he reportedly became agitated and refused proposed disciplinary action, then signed himself out of the facility. He was later arrested at another facility, at which time he allegedly admitted the sexual abuse at the Oak Park facility.

Oak Park police confirm that on Aug. 7, a man named Donald Crawford, 64, allegedly forced a 44-year-old mentally impaired and physically disabled woman to have sex with him at the Oak Park Healthcare Center. Crawford was arrested on Aug. 9 after transferring to a facility in Frankfort, and was charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault. He is currently being held in Cook County Jail on $500,000 bond, with a Feb. 10 court date at the Maybrook Courthouse.

Kalkowski declined to discuss specifics, citing confidentiality concerns.

According to the IDPH, Oak Park Healthcare staff members were supposed to be aware of the offending resident's whereabouts at all times, due to his reputed history. There were 11 documented incidents of the man being drunk over a seven-month period in 2004. At such times, the IDPH said, the man displayed a range of sexually inappropriate behaviors that included kissing, hugging and touching, as well as verbal abuse. He had also been "non-compliant" with staff efforts to correct his behavior.

Kalkowski confirmed that Oak Park Healthcare Center has had a change of management in the past year, including himself and a new Nursing Administrator.

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