6:15am PT by Gary Baum
Hollywood's Senior Living Facility Hit With Lawsuit Over Groping Incident
The Motion Picture & Television Fund’s Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, the industry’s gold-standard nursing home, stands accused of negligent care.
A lawsuit filed Aug. 8 on behalf of a resident with dementia alleges she was groped in Harry’s Haven, the facility’s lauded Alzheimer’s unit, by a fellow dementia patient with a purported known recent history of sexually assaultive behavior.
The complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court claims that the 89-year-old woman — placed in the facility 11 years ago by her son, a longtime writer for Matlock — was violated on or about July 24 by a recent male resident arrival to the facility. (Both are named in the suit.) It’s asserted that between April and July, the man made inappropriate contact with at least seven other female residents and that police were called on multiple occasions.
The MPTF tells The Hollywood Reporter that it’s unaware of previous incidents and to its knowledge none has involved a law-enforcement response. The woman’s attorney, Stephen Garcia, responds that he has written reports compiled by an undisclosed MPTF staff member, and “the materials confirm prior abuse, knowledge of it by the facility as well as the involvement of police in at least two instances.” (On Wednesday afternoon, the MPTF clarified that it had reported other occurrences involving the named resident to the appropriate authorities, "as it does all maters of this kind, and that it is not aware of any ongoing police investigations.")
The MPTF explains in a statement that Harry’s Haven “residents sometimes exhibit anxiety, agitation and sexual disinhibition, among other behaviors. No one with dementia gets to choose how their brain reacts to this disease.” The facility acknowledges that the man is now more closely watched. (The woman remains a resident.)
The MPTF, which has yet to file a response in court (listed defendants include president and CEO Bob Beitcher and board members Jim Gianopulos, Jeffrey Katzenberg and George Clooney), also says there are “inaccuracies” in what it characterizes as a “frivolous” complaint.
A version of this story first appeared in the Aug. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.