Woman sexually assaulted at county mental health

November 17, 2011

Ambrose Wesley

By DANIEL BLACKBURN and KAREN VELIE

Depressed and mentally ill people in crisis arrive at San Luis Obispo County’s mental health inpatient facility expecting a safe haven, and not a 14-patient ward plagued by sexual assaults and beatings.

A registered sex offender high on cocaine held a mentally ill woman hostage and sexually assaulted her at the county inpatient unit at about 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, Paso Robles Chief Lisa Solomon confirmed.

Ambrose Wesley walked into another patient’s room, held his hand over her mouth and face leaving behind abrasions, and then sexually assaulted the woman for about five minutes before mental health staffers noticed.

Numerous calls to county mental health officials were not returned.

Several county employees say they are outraged because they claim the man should have been placed in jail which has “great mental health services” rather than county mental health because police had determined the man was high on cocaine. In addition, staff at the hospital aware of the man’s history and drugged state should have watched him more closely, they said.

Solomon said she “had heard that a chemical test had, at some point, been administered, but there was a question as to whether there was something in his blood stream.”

California law does not allow a person to be placed into a mental health facility because of a substance abuse issue. Officers making an arrest and transporting a person to jail can spend hours on paperwork or only a few minutes if they place a person into a mental health ward.

Locals made “numerous reports” to Paso Robles police about a man’s “erratic” behavior including “making strange statements to people, making inappropriate requests, and his threat to jump off the Niblick Bridge,” Solomon said.

Investigating officer Joe Leonard transported Wesley to Mental Health because “based on what we had observed at the time, we transported him on a 51/50 (mental commitment) status,” Solomon said. “The man’s actions indicated it was a mental health issue, and if there had been some other things going on, then we certainly would have investigated that.”

Following the attack, San Luis Obispo police officers arrested Wesley on charges of sexual assault and false imprisonment and booked him into San Luis Obispo County jail with bail set at $25,000.

Two years ago, a man with a long history of violent random assaults was checked into the county mental health ward by a law enforcement officer. Staff members escorted the man out to a smoking cage where they left him unattended with Valerie Lane.

A video camera captured William Shirreffs smoking a cigarette before he began punching Lane in the head and chest. She suffered a gash to her head that required staples, an injured finger that still does not bend, bruised lungs, and a battered and cut face with eyes swollen shut.

Today, she is losing vision because of damage to the retina in her right eye. It is still primarily blood red because of a hematoma, a collection of blood outside of the blood vessels.

Attorney James McKiernan filed a lawsuit against the county in which he asks for damages because of Lane’s ongoing physical and mental impairments. In his Sept. 11 filing, McKiernan lists a number of state laws that require seclusion for dangerous patients, minimal staff to patient ratios as well as health and safety codes that mandate that the facility develop and follow a safety plan designed to protect patients.


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Typoqueen

The problem with Co. Mental Health is due to funding. Most of you are anti govt., you get upset that there’s a homeless issue (ie DeVaul), you scream when these things happen with Co. Mental Health and yet you don’t want to raise taxes on the wealthy to help fund these services.


I can’t emphasize enough how underfunded this govt. agency is. After the last incident I had spoken with a few people in not only this county but also someone in another state that works for state mental health in their state. They are now talking about completely closing down County and State funded mental health clinics. There will be NO help for people that need it. The reason that they are about to closing these places is that they just can’t hire enough people and now they are facing law suits over things like this. As I’ve said in the past, the So. County Mental Health office is usually staffed with two women, not young strong women. Sometimes they have a man or two there but not always. What can these two women do when confronted with a packed waiting room full of unbalanced people? One lady that works in the So. Co. office told me that she sometimes gets scared for others patients safety as well as her own. Incidents like this will get worse.


Ah yes, and the rich get richer and the 99% get scr#wed.


RU4Real

Typo, with all due respect, SLO County Mental Healths problems go way beyond a “funding issue”. There were no funding problems over 20 years ago & there were significant problems even then. They have a history of hiring incompetents with little or no experience. The majority of the techs are really, really bad & the Doctors propbably cannot be hired elsewhere, they’re just THAT bad.


Typoqueen

I agree regarding the docs. They are terrible. I had this discussion the other night with someone that works with these docs. We couldn’t figure out why the docs are so bad. This isn’t just here, this issue is everywhere, even in other states. I don’t understand why as the docs get good money and benefits. They do try to find good docs and they are aware that the docs for the most part are pretty bad. It seems like shrinks just aren’t motivated to work for the state or the county, they just want to be self employed. The can’t find good docs to work for them. As far as the rest of the staff, I disagree with you. I feel that they have made some mistakes but for the most part they do the best with what they have.


The Gimlet Eye

The “docs” are bad because they work for a government provided system. What self-respecting doctor would want to work for such a system? None! That’s scraping the bottom of the barrel!


Government screws up everything it touches. This woman has a really big payday coming. More power to her!


Cindy

Has there ever been a time when we didn’t hear that incompetence was due to lack of funding? Think about it, every time there has ever been an issue with a gummint provider it’s always been the same story, WE NEED MORE MONEY. Then we give them more money and all we end up with is a bunch of BLOATED salaries and more incompetence. We saw the same thing happen with the SLO PD and FD, what did we get with all our money except BOATED SALARIES AND BENEFITS?


Only in gubmint will you ever hear that incompetence is an excuse for a raise and guess what? They often get one.


Bottom line Typo, I don’t give a flying —- how short staffed they are. How long does it take to stick a guy in a locked room until you can evaluate him?


Typoqueen

“Has there ever been a time when we didn’t hear that incompetence was due to lack of funding?”


APCD board. SLOPD.


When you don’t have enough staff there will be a lot of errors, not that its an excuse those errors but that’s just the way it is. When people are over worked and understaffed you start to get a ‘don’t give a damn’ attitude, it’s just too over whelming for them so they have gotten to point where they don’t give a damn.


Cindy

Yes, You’ve got me there but you’re cutting off part of my post. To quote myself, I included:


“Then we give them more money and all we end up with is a bunch of BLOATED salaries and more incompetence.”


The APCD didn’t always have that large staff and those bloated salaries. The BOS allowed them to expand and enact additional ordinances/rules that would allow then to “extort” more fees. The more money they got the larger they grew and the more incompetent they became until we now have a legal Mafia on our hands.


The Gimlet Eye

I don’t think that most of us here are “anti-goverment,” Typoqueen. That’s extreme. Probably most of us are anti-big government. We would like to live in a country where the MARKET determines prices, not some stupid, lazy bureaucrat sitting in a plush office in a galaxy somewhere far, far, away, run with TONS of taxpayers dollars, but NO information about how free markets really work.


Anyway, if you are so concerned about “funding,” which is fine, explain to me where “the missing money” went. Google it and see what comes up. No wonder we lack cash for public services! If so much money had not been STOLEN, maybe we would have PLENTY of money to pay for these kinds of services and keep poor, defenseless women from being assaulted.


Typoqueen

If it’s a liberal supported law or policy then most of those that post here are extreme and are anti govt.. This little comment venue sorta mimics congress. If the left is for it then without even knowing what it’s about the right will oppose it. But if it is for something they want then they want the ‘nanny’ state to run things. Most of the posters here are extremely right wing and anti govt. is the current mantra for that demographic.


Yes, you want ‘the market’ to dictate prices and that is exactly why the ave. American pays $12,000 to $14,000 a year for medical insurance. You had better hope that the insurance covers the cost of that $15,00 aspirin if you get a headache in the hospital. Thanks for that open market but it’s not working that well for most of the people that I know. The lazy bureaucrats I see behind the desks in the plush offices are the CEOs of Goldman Sachs, Blue Cross, GE, Exxon, etc.. Don’t even try and blame the high cost of goods on the govt., it’s absolutely due to corp. greed. Does the govt. have it’s issues, yes it’s a terrible mess. But most of that govt. mess is once again due to corp greed. When we have laws passed ie the three strikes law that were completely written up by corp. pigs to feed their corp private prisons so they can make prisoners work as slaves for 23 cents an hour to make huge profits for their corp. prison owners then that is when I say this open market needs much more regulation. When big oil companies and GE pay NO fed tax I say, feds start regulating these ba$tards and make them keep their jobs here and make them pay their fair share.


As I said, the funding for mental health has been slashed. Calif has more cuts than any other state and that is exactly why I said that these crimes are going up and we will see more and more crime due to cut backs. California cut $177.4 million from its mental health budget between the 2011 and 2012 fiscal years alone. From 2009 to 2011 almost $600 mill was slashed from Ca. mental health. Yet with the bad economy and the wars there is a much higher demand for mental health services then in the past. Oh yeah, that money was stolen, it was stolen in the form of not making those fat cats from your free markets pay thier fair share. You Google it, read all about it. The upper 1-2% are under taxed thanks to our friends on the right and that holds a direct impact on state/county mental health. We need govt. regulation to stop these fat cats from taking our money and shortening our life spans. The corps not paying their taxes hurt the people that need it the most,,,as always.


http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1214


http://www.nami.org/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm?ContentFileID=126233


The Gimlet Eye

Typoqueen, I don’t buy your “left/right paradigm.” Not at all. That’s a fraud and a red herring, a result of brain washing. There are only confederations of gangsters running a gangster superstate. That’s our country, that’s our plight. You will never get ANYWHERE with that kind of thinking.


This is just another case of the cold hearted, careless, reckless welfare state allowing some poor, defenseless woman to suffer injury. Who cares? Not them!


zaphod

Who’s afraid of a virtual state?

here


willie

You say very little but you say a lot.

And Cindy say a lot with good insight and clarity.

Both of you have my highest respect.


willie

Zaphod

You say very little but you say a lot.


social

There ought to be a Grand Jury Investigation into SLO Mental “Unealthy”


willie

I am relatively sure that both William Shirreffs and Ambrose Wesley will plea not guilty by reason of insanity.


seesfarther

“they claim the man should have been placed in jail which has “great mental health services””


AHAHAHAAAAAA!


Cindy

One thing for certain is that the man should have been placed in a cell somewhere. They hadn’t even evaluated him yet and there he was free to run around, enter another patients room and sexually attack her in private for a whole 5 minutes. 5 minutes is a long time. There is no excuse for this, short staffed or not, this is the second time in the last few months they have allowed new intakes to run free and attack defenseless woman. The last one ” that we know of” and I stress “that we know of ” punched out a woman last month who was already suicidal and now this crap. This is nothing but MORE GUMMIT serving us all their INCOMPETENCE and now we will get sued again.


SloTownMan

And the county sups want to build a 200 bed facility to attract more bums ? Totally unreal.


sweetinslo

“Mental health impatient facility.” Really? I stopped reading this after that lead.


Cindy

LOL, How Freudian does it get? I love it.


“Mental health impatient facility.” LOL More, Good One.


Moderator

So “sweetinslo” who are you writing for these days? Link to it, we want to read it.


Special offer! Anonymous commenter accounts converted to your real name at no charge! Just contact admin@calcoastnews.com for details.


MaryMalone

Agreed: The finger-pointing, Polly-Prissypants, self-appointed spelling, word usage and grammar critics who get pi$$y about a simple spelling error are annoying. Clearly, there are better, more gracious ways to handle such errors..


Disagreed: Implying someone needs to be ready to reveal their legal name if they feel it absolutely necessary to be annoying.


Moderator

“Implying someone needs to be ready to reveal their legal name”

No, only offering a free service.


If we wanted to only have “real” names comment, we would have used facebook for credentials.


Typoqueen

Sounds like a personal feud here.


Cindy

This guy sexually assaulted someone and his bail is only $25K. What the heck is that? Sexual assault is a serious crime.


pasoparent5

Good point, Cindy. Another homeless guy just vandalized a statue & some artwork at SLO Mission but his bail was 10 TIMES that amount. (Was it a higher amount b/c it was a so-called “hate crime?”) Just doesn’t seem fair, does it?


Also look up Ambrose’s info on Megan’s Law website. His address wasn’t required to be posted, meaning the authorities didn’t even consider him a high-risk offender. OOPS!


People need to STOP giving cash to homeless beggars like Ambrose. How does an unemployed bum get “high on cocaine?!!” These transients use your hard-earned money to buy drugs and booze! If you really want to help,donate to Salvation Army or other charities but don’t give money directly to these transients.


easymoney

Very well put paso…

This is just another installment in the sad failed county system saga.


“Numerous calls to county mental health officials were not returned.”

Why is that I wonder?


“California law does not allow a person to be placed into a mental health facility because of a substance abuse issue. Officers making an arrest and transporting a person to jail can spend hours on paperwork or only a few minutes if they place a person into a mental health ward.”

If the perp was stoned and a danger to himself or others, he should have been put into a cell by himself and kept under observation until him was sober, like they do with all drunks…


And I agree about donating to worthy private entities that serve “the down on their luck” types instead of giving free money to the beggers, because they just use the money to buy booze and dope.

The Salvation Army and others like the Midnight Mission do not tolerate drugs or booze and give meals or a place to spend the night, in exchange for work or helping out. No one gets a free lunch, they HAVE to help out.

My wife always gives a fiver to the beggers at the supermarket driveway, and she and I have had more than one heated discussion, after I open my window and ask the person begging if they would like to come work for me doing some choresfor the day, instead of taking my wifes $5, and every single time they say NO.

My wife gets mad at me, but I do get to make my point, they don’t want to work they just want free money…


pasoparent5

LOL I’m with ya, easymoney. My spouse, too, wants to give $$ to beggars despite my repeated pleas to just say no! Tell your wife she doesn’t have to take your word for it; just have her ask ANY homeless adovcate, social worker, or cop their opinion on giving cash to panhandlers. She may as well bring them a bottle of Thunderbird herself cuz that’s just what the beggars are gonna go buy w/her tax-free donation. The ONLY time I cave in is when they’ve got their kids w/them; then I may give them some food–but still no cash.


Cindy

I agree, don’t give them money. It’s a hard thing to say no when they are begging and saying they’re hungry and we just purchased a load of groceries, but they do usually buy drugs or alcohol with the money we give them. I have solved the guilt problem that I feel by employing a new strategy. When I pull into a grocery store and see that someone is out there begging with a sign, I buy a sandwich and a pint of milk and give it to them on the way out.


I also volunteer at the Shelter and deliver hot home cooked meals in co-ordination with my group as do other groups. There are enough groups that our turn only comes up once a month. Feed them, donate to the Shelters and Salvation Army or Christian clothing store but don’t give them any $$$$.


MaryMalone

If I have it on me, I will sometimes give a couple of bucks to someone soliciting on the streets, as long as it is a safe environment. I wouldn’t, of course, give money to someone obviously high or acting incoherently. That would violate my “safe environment” qualification.


I don’t believe someone has to justify to me the reason for their “begging.” The mere fact that they are begging, from my point of view, indicates they are really down on their luck. I can’t imagine the humiliation of having to bed on the streets.


When I give, I give unconditionally. Once the gift is given, it’s up to the recipient to decide how it will be used. If I put conditions on the gift, it is no longer a gift.


Also, I don’t have the feeling this guy supports his drug use mainly by begging. Drug addiction is a pretty expensive endeavor. I suspect his source for drug money is of the criminal nature.


I’m not saying your approach isn’t also an option. The fact that it is endorsed by social services (which, by the way, makes money by people in need coming to them for help) makes it a more acceptable approach to most people. What can I say? I’m quirky, and act from my heart.


Typoqueen

I agree Mary. I do the same. If they spend in on booze or drugs then that’s what they do, if they spend it on food then great, I also don’t put conditions when I give. I must retail the story though about the time that I was in the OSH shopping center in Pismo and there was a guy holding a sign that said ‘hungry’ and he was asking for money. I drove through Taco Bell and bought him a bag of food. When I handed it to him he looked at me with an indignant look, handed it back and told me that he was a vegetarian. Hungry enough to beg for food but picky enough to be a vegetarian.


I probably won’t buy food again for someone but I agree with you and I’ll still give cash if it’s a safe situation.


r0y

Well, if the victim is of a different ethnicity, religion, or economic background, maybe they could call it a hate-crime instead? I’m betting the government figured the local media was in their pocket and didn’t see KV & DB coming along exposing (no pun intended) them; otherwise, there might have been more hubub. Harumph!


social

Why is it CONTINUALLY no one at the county is ever held accountable? Beginning with the counties INCOMPETENT psychiatrists and administrators sitting upstairs from this unit pushing pencils, collecting fat paychecks sitting around waiting for their pensions? How ironic…..The county claims to be worried about health and safety problems at Dan De Vauls Sunny Acres!!!!LOL…What gives? When will our county government CLEAN HOUSE and get some competent people running this place? Oh woooops , never mind…that will never happen. They are cemented in to their positions regardless…


racket

Social,


I agree, kind of.


But your post begs the question, What if this had happened at De Vaul’s? On our litigious planet, would it be De Vaul’s fault for creating an unsafe environment? Would it be the same County fatcat’s fault for allowing De Vaul’s unsafe/unpermitted environment to continue?


Soon as I get my oscillation overthruster completed, I am going in search of a planet where the fault and the blame lie solely on the perp.


r0y

You mean you’re going to look across the 8th Dimension to try and find personal responsibility? Not sure John Bigbooty would approve.


racket

Bigbu-TAY.


RU4Real

Clearly, there’s a huge problem with SLO Mental Health. However, this is NOT a new problem. SLO Mental Health has been going down hill for at LEAST 20 years. Heads need to roll NOW & some competent mental health workers need to be hired.


Typoqueen

It’s all about the money,,or lack of it.


Mr. Holly

Go Lisa Go. Here we go again. Great job chief.