PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A nursing assistant who has already been sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexually abusing elderly patients may have had “many more” victims, according to a local attorney.
Adeladilew Mekonen was fired from Providence St. Vincent Medical center after 9 women between the ages of 27-94 accused him of sexual abuse.
But in a lawsuit filed Tuesday, attorney Jason Kafoury alleges Mekonen was abusing women even before he worked at Providence.
Kafoury claims there is evidence Mekonen’s former employer, West Hills Health Rehabilitation Center, kept him on the job even after women accused him of rape.
The lawsuit alleges the residential care facility knew Mekonen “engaged in unethical, unprofessional and sexually inappropriate behavior toward residents, patients and co-employees,” but didn’t do anything to stop him over a period of 1.5 years.
Additionally, Kafoury said West Hills gave Mekonen a “great reference” when he applied for a job at Providence, “where he continued to abuse women.”
An 87-year-old woman previously sued Providence for also failing to take action against Mekonen after women began accusing him of rape and sexual abuse.
“He was allowed the same access to women alone in their room, elderly women often medicated,” Kafoury said. “Same access that he had prior to being accused.”
West Hills provided KOIN 6 News with the following statement:
“West Hills strongly disputes the allegations made in the lawsuits filed against West Hills, which are false, misleading, and without merit. We are confident that we have complied with applicable laws and reporting requirements, and have followed proper procedures.
Due to ongoing litigation, we are unable to comment further on the details of this case, but we will vigorously defend ourselves against all allegations and misrepresentations.”