Motion Picture and Television Fund
The Motion Picture and Television Fund is being sued by two residents of the famed Motion Picture Country House and Hospital, who claim that managers there engaged in a “cover up” of numerous sexual assaults on female residents by a fellow resident.
In her elder abuse and assault and battery lawsuit, filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), retired costumer Nancy Renard claimed that fellow resident Rafael Palacios “sexually assaulted 13 residents of the facility” and that managers there had concealed from her family his history of aggressive behavior and “sexual disinhibition.”
The complaint alleges that the defendants “have long known, and covered up, that they freely allowed a sexual predator to roam their halls endangering residents” and, as a result of their “conspiracy of silence,” failed to protect the residents and allowed Palacios to “physically abuse and sexually assault” them.
Deadline reached out to the Motion Picture & Television Fund about both cases but has yet to receive a response.
Renard’s suit alleges that Palacios, a former longtime employee of the Motion Picture & Television Fund before he became a resident at the retirement home, was found on top of Renard “in her bed with his pants down sexually assaulting her” and that managers failed to tell her family that he “had previously been found on top of another female resident in her room with his penis exposed.”
Her suit also claims that he exposed himself to at least two staff members on two separate occasions and entered uninvited into the rooms of an additional nine female residents within a four-month period this year.
The complaint cites a “nursing weekly summary,” dated June 16, that noted that he’d previously had “68 episodes of aggressive behavior and 33 episodes of ‘sexual disinhibition.’”
Palacios, who is named as a defendant in both suits, was a resident of the facility’s nationally acclaimed Alzheimer’s unit, known as Harry’s Haven. Renard’s suit, however, notes that “his dementia was becoming so severe that he simply lacked the mental ability and capacity to control his actions.”
On July 1, a staffer emailed the director of the MPTF’s geriatric services to alert her to the continuing problems they were having with him. Here’s the email, which is an exhibit in Renard’s suit:
“I wanted to write you about something I’m quite sure you must be aware of, but is of growing concern to me,” he wrote. “For the past several weeks, one of the residents in A Wing, Rafael, has been wandering into many of the female resident’s rooms in A Wing and, on many occasions, climbs atop them….much to their horror.
“Last week, I was mildly relieved to see a ‘sitter’ outside his room, monitoring his movements. I had assumed that there would be someone stationed there 24/7 if the intention was to keep him in Harry’s.
“Sadly, that turned out not to be the case. When I arrived this morning, not only wasn’t there a ‘sitter,’ but one of the newer residents was sitting on the couch crying, the result of Rafael’s attempt to assault her only moments before.
“Obviously, I have selfish reasons to want this man removed from Harry’s or, at the very least, have someone stationed with him at all times. Could you please relay my concerns to whatever individual at MPTF who can IMMEDIATELY remove Rafael from Harry’s or station ‘sitters’ 24/7 starting yesterday?
“You’ve known me for more than ten years and you know I’m not prone to either hysteria or hyperbole, but this issue is very, very volatile. And you are the only person I felt comfortable writing.”
A separate suit filed in August by the same law firm on behalf of resident Sylvia Mathes claims that she was “physically assaulted” by Palacios in July and that managers of the skilled nursing facilities had not taken adequate precautions to protect her from him, even though the police had been called on at least two previous occasions.
Mathes’ suit (read it here) states that in April, Palacios “was found on top of a female resident and the police were called” and that they were called again in May when he “was found on top of another female resident.” The suit alleges that he was found on top of another female resident on June 16 and that, a few days later, he was “found on top of another female resident ‘humping.’”
Several individuals also are named as defendants in both lawsuits, which claim that the facility was negligent in their supervision of him and “negligently hired, supervised and retained” staff whose job was to ensure a safe place for the residents to live out their last years.
Attorney Stephen Garcia of Garcia, Artigliere, Medby & Faulkner in Long Beach, CA, is representing both plaintiffs in their cases. His colleagues William Artigliere and David Medby also represent Mathes in her suit. A conference case management hearing is scheduled for May 11.
Dominic Patten contributed to this report.
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