CRIME
02/24/2014 09:52 am ET Updated Feb 24, 2014

Nursing Home Director Calls 89-Year-Old Rape Victim A 'Flirt,' Lawsuit Charges

A Minnesota nursing home ignored an 89-year-old rape victim's pleas for help, then branded her as a "flirt" who harassed her attacker "mercilessly," court papers charge.

The woman's caretaker, Andrew Scott Merzwski, admitted to raping her in January 2013. He was sentenced last month to 53 months in prison. But a lawsuit against the Edgewood Vista facility in Hermantow accuses a nursing home director of defending the rapist even after he admitted to his crime.

"Did she tell you that this was consensual?" Marilyn Moore, the home's clinical services director, reportedly told a nurse examiner who inspected the victim. "Did she tell you that she flirts with this boy mercilessly?"

The Star Tribune unearthed the shocking court documents, which go on to charge that the victim was locked in a psychiatric ward for almost three days after reporting the crime.

The New York Daily News detailed the attack:

Andrew Scott Merzwski was a caretaker in January 2013 at the home when he assaulted the woman. She told a nurse examiner Merzwski sat down to watch a movie with her, but then took his clothes off. She tried to repel the younger man’s advances by pointing to a picture of her husband.

“It’s not right,” she reportedly said. “This wouldn’t be right."

The woman told her daughter what happened the next day, and the daughter called police.

Merzwski admitted to the assault, yet the victim underwent more embarrassment and bad treatment. Nurse examiner Theresa Flesvig said she was shocked when Moore suggested the sex was "consensual." When she performed a full rape examination on the woman -- days after the attack -- she found the "biggest tear" she'd ever seen.

The victim's lawyer says that the state Health Department "failed in its duty as a regulator" and didn't properly investigate the rape allegations, according to the Daily Mail. Edgewood Vista officials said in a statement that they cooperated with local and state authorities to resolve the issue.

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