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Suit says the facility should have known an employee was a threat

Related story: Third rape charge added against man accused of assaulting Broken Arrow rehabilitation center residents

One of four women who allegedly was sexually assaulted by an employee at a Broken Arrow nursing home has filed a lawsuit against the facility.

The former resident of Forest Hills Care and Rehabilitation Center contends the center neglected to provide a safe environment by hiring the employee, who allegedly assaulted her while she was living there between Dec. 24 and Jan. 13, according to a civil suit filed Wednesday in Tulsa County District Court.

The plaintiff is not named in this story due to the Tulsa World’s policy to avoid identifying victims of sexual assault.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of damages in excess of $75,000 for each of four reasons — negligence, assault, battery and punitive damages.

The lawsuit does not identify the alleged perpetrator, but the plaintiff’s attorney, Mark Edwards, confirmed that the former employee’s name is Wesley Harrison.

Harrison, 55, is facing Tulsa County criminal charges alleging he performed illicit sexual acts against four women in June 2015, December and January, court records show.

Charges against Harrison were filed Feb. 24 and initially involved two victims, but the charges were amended later to add two more victims, court records indicate.

He is charged with three counts of second-degree rape, as well as counts of rape by instrumentation and sexual battery, according to court records.

Harrison has stood mute to the charges and is expected back in court Aug. 2 for a status conference, court minutes show.

Forest Hills contacted police after learning in January about Harrison’s alleged acts, according to a statement the center released after he was charged.

Harrison initially was suspended and banned from the premises before he was fired following an internal investigation, the release states.

He has been at the Tulsa Jail since March 3 and is held in lieu of bonds totaling $225,000, booking records show.

Harrison’s background information appeared clean when Forest Hills vetted him before he was hired, according to the center’s statement.

The civil suit claims that the center knew or should have known that Harrison had a history of abuse, neglect or assault.

That history involves a prior job from which Harrison was terminated, Edwards told the Tulsa World on Thursday. Edwards would not comment further as the plaintiff is still gathering evidence.

Forest Hills did not return a call for comment on Thursday.

Personal Note from NHA-Advocates: NHAA shares with all the families of loved ones who are confined to nursing homes the pain and anguish of putting them in the care of someone else. We expect our loved ones to be treated with dignity and honor in the homes we place them. We cannot emphasize enough to family members of nursing home residents; frequent visits are essential to our loved ones’ well-being and safety. This nursing home and many others across the country are cited for abuse and neglect.

You can make a difference. If you have a loved one living in this nursing home or any other nursing home where you suspect any form of abuse or neglect, contact us immediately.

We can help you and your loved one file a state complaint, hire a specialized nursing home attorney or help you find a more suitable location for your loved one.

Contact us through our CONTACT FORM located on our website here below or on the sidebar or call our toll free hot line number: 1-800-645-5262.

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