Lawsuit claims elderly woman raped at Arroyo Grande care facility

July 26, 2016

crime sceneAn employee of an Arroyo Grande nursing facility raped a 78-year-old woman at the care center last year, according to a lawsuit filed in San Luis Obispo Superior Court. Arroyo Grande police have been investigating the rape allegation since Sept. 2015. [Tribune]

Grover Beach man Mark Roppolo, the son of the alleged victim, filed the lawsuit. The suit states Roppolo’s mother was raped at the Arroyo Grande Care Center, where she was recovering from a total knee replacement operation.

The lawsuit does not name the employee who allegedly raped the woman, nor does it provide details about the alleged sexual assault. The suit does allege Arroyo Grande Care Center staff failed to monitor and adequately care for the woman, allowing the sexual assault to occur.

Compass Health Inc. owns the Arroyo Grande Care Center.

In June 2015, the alleged victim underwent the knee replacement surgery. She then started suffering from mental problems and was transferred to the Arroyo Grande Care Center. The alleged victim was housed in the nursing facility between Aug. 8 and Sept. 12.

Following the rape, the woman’s mental health further deteriorated, the lawsuit states. The woman is now living in a Santa Maria nursing home.

The suit alleges negligence, elder abuse, wilful misconduct and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Roppolo is seeking an unspecified amount of general and punitive damages, as well as reimbursement for legal costs.

Arroyo Grande Police Cmdr. Mike Martinez said there is an open investigation into the case, but the police department cannot release any details.

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Here is what I have gathered:

1. Woman had knee replacement and at some point developed “mental problems”.

2. There are allegations of rape, but we don’t have details.

3. Alleged victim’s son is suing the care center.

4. Woman is not at home, which knee replacement usually has a recovery of 6 weeks or less, but is now in another nursing home.

Here is what I “infer”.

1. Rape kit was not done. AG Care Center would know about it.

2. Victims are taken to the hospital or sterile setting for an exam, medication as needed, STD testing, etc. This is for continuity of care/chain of control of evidence and to prevent contamination in transport, among other reasons. If the perpetrator worked at the care center, interviews and assessments would not happen there.

3. Woman may have had a stroke during her recovery, as blood clots are a complication of TK replacements. This complicates things because she may be incompetent.

4. She was most likely in a semi private room. I wonder if her roommate has any information…


I don’t know how you could prove such a charge unless the guilty person comes forward and confesses. This looks like one of those crazy lawsuits because no offender is named. They will likely settle out of court and the rest of us will pay the bill with more expensive health care and more expensive insurance and less access to health care.

Have you ever heard of DNA?

I have never actually called anyone a moron online before, and this is the closest I have ever come to it. There was obviously a rape kit brought to the center since she was immobile, and there is DNA on file. It is likely that the person who committed this horrendous crime–quit and fled the area. A 78 year old woman would be a person who likely trusts healthcare and is trauma-naive. She is likely in a very poor mental state-because elderly rape victims have mostly never been brutalized in their lifetime. And you are worried about more expensive healthcare? What a moron. (Okay….I finally did it!)

The rape supposedly happened in 2015. We don’t know if the rape was reported to the police at that time or months later. The Center stated that they learned about the rape for the first time when the civil suit was filed yesterday. The AG Police Department is still doing their investigation. So, there may or may not be a rape kit.

Some other employee knows what happened! No one employee is on duty at any time. I hope the facility will live up to it’s reputation as one of the best in the county and cooperate with the investigation. Then the law suit can be addressed. Don’t let this criminal get away with this — it’s probably not the first time he has done it and won’t be the last unless he is caught.