February 14, 2013

Register Investigation: After nursing home slaying, new legislation

Unbelievable, Iowa lawmaker using a situation which HAS NOTHING to do with sex offenders, to pass a law covering sex offenders. Is there a better example of legalized vigilantism?
2-14-2013 Iowa:

Rules apply only to sex offenders, not violent residents such as man charged in Fayette County death

In the wake of a brutal homicide at a Fayette County care facility, state lawmakers are again examining the issue of violent criminals living in Iowa’s nursing homes.

The Iowa House is considering a bill that would require care facility administrators to notify patients, visitors, workers and others when a registered sex offender moves into the home. But the bill is silent on violent offenders convicted of crimes that aren’t sexual in nature.

The Des Moines Register last year identified at least 42 registered sex offenders living either in nursing homes for the elderly or the more lightly regulated residential care facilities for disabled adults. The Register’s report also detailed several incidents in which known offenders moved into the homes and then sexually assaulted their fellow residents.

The Register’s investigation into the Fayette County homicide reveals that the suspect, 35-year-old Matthew T. Braun, had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and had a well-documented history of violence toward family members and police before he was admitted to the Prairie View Residential Care Facility last summer. Braun had been arrested 10 times for various forms of assault, and had eight convictions for willful injury and assault, with most of the victims being police officers or corrections officials, court records show.

John Tapscott, a former state lawmaker who now advocates for the elderly, says too many of Iowa’s care facilities have evolved from “safe havens for the elderly and the disabled” into “holding facilities for sexual offenders or those with a history of violence or criminal convictions.”

The home’s administrator, Sylvia Mork, declined to answer questions about the case but said in a written statement that Braun — who is now being held awaiting trial — was “immediately removed from the facility” after the killing.

She said the home will “continue to screen prospective residents to ensure that we can meet their needs and protect the safety and welfare of our residents.”

Prairie View is a 90-bed care facility that was staffed by only three workers the night of the killing, state records show. The facility is owned by Fayette County but is managed by Prairie View Management Inc., a nonprofit organization run by a six-member board that includes Marjorie Strudthoff.

Strudthoff, 79, said the board has never discussed the assaults that have taken place at Prairie View, or the risk posed by violent offenders. She said the home’s administrator informs the board of some of the incidents that occur in the facility, but that information is limited.

“We’ll get some information, but not much about what is going through the police ...continued... by Clark Kauffman

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