A Solano County home caretaker has reached a settlement with her former employer after being sexually assaulted by a client who was already facing two rape charges at the time of the attack.
The amount of the settlement, reached in April, was not made public, according to court documents. The attorney for the caretaker, Jessica Pride, signed an agreement not to discuss the case publicly.
The settlement follows on the heels of a 2 Investigates story in February about the 2017 assaults where the 55-year-old caretaker was given a last-minute reassignment by her employer Omelagah, Inc. to care for developmentally disabled client Robert Allen Dickens alone in his Benicia apartment. Dickens is currently in custody on criminal charges related to this case and one other.
Omelagah Inc. did not respond to this station’s numerous requests for comment. Court documents show the agency claimed it had proper policies and procedures in place and it exercised reasonable care to prevent any harassment. Omelagah, Inc. is a human services agency that serves developmentally disabled individuals who have or may be at risk of having criminal backgrounds. Omelagah, Inc. is hired by the North Bay Regional Center which is a non-profit private corporation that contracts with California’s Department of Developmental Services to ensure people with disabilities live fulfilled lives.
The caretaker believes, however, that Omelagah, failed to protect her. In her suit, she alleged “Omelagah possessed the details of Dickens’ pending criminal charges for rape. However Omelagah withheld this information from [her] and never afforded her the opportunity to decide whether she felt comfortable working in Dickens’ home.”
She accused the agency of sending her "into the home of a sexual predator to blindly fend for herself without so much of a warning.”
And in an interview with 2 Investigates, she said Dickens choked her until she was unconscious and when she awoke he unleashed a flurry of punches to her head. She fought him off and Dickens was arrested and charged with battery and attempted sexual assault.
“The next thing I know I was on the floor. He was over me,” she said in her prior interview. “He had pulled down my pants, almost knee-length.”
This report was the first of a series of investigations by 2 Investigates exposing a lack of state oversight of CA’s disabled care industry. In April, we told you about cases of abuse and neglect going unchecked according to a whistleblower. Last month, 2 Investigates spoke to parents and former industry worker about the strained regional center system.
Candice Nguyen is an investigative reporter for KTVU Fox 2. E-mail her story ideas and comments at email@example.com.