Editor’s Note: This is the first of a two-part series of stories investigating conditions in Oklahoma’s group homes for the mentally retarded, mentally ill and elderly. The investigation was conducted by reporters from the Tulsa World and The Oklahoman. During a 2007 visit to a Prague residential care home, state inspectors reviewed a routine checklist of possible code violations. They checked how Royal Living Care Center trained its staff, stored medications, provided meals and cleaned the home's living quarters. The home, situated four miles south of Prague, can house 64 people who need psychiatric or medical care. That day a male resident approached a state inspector. “I need to talk to you in private,” the resident said. “I got raped.” The man said his roommate had raped him twice. The resident then told a Royal Living staff member, who moved him into another room. “I was asleep on my side,” he told inspectors. “He grabbed me. I said ‘get away,' but I couldn't get away. He took advantage of me.” That was the home's second reported rape in four months. In late 2006, a low-functioning female resident was raped by as many as three male residents. She told inspectors she was afraid of the men, one of whom “hurt me down there,” she said. Calls to the home for comment were not returned. Violations pile up Since late 2006, the Royal Living Care Center has compiled 70 violations – more than any other facility of its kind in the state. Health Department inspectors found 16 code violations at the home during a January 2008 visit. That's more than double the number of violations the state usually finds at residential care homes, according to a Tulsa World analysis. One of the January 2008 violations was for verbal abuse of a resident. According to state reports, an employee waiting to clean a bathroom screamed at a male resident to exit the room. “I'll beat your ass,” the employee said. “Do I need to call the National Guard to get you out of here? This ain't no holiday.” A review of the home's records revealed Royal Living did not have a state background check for the employee and seven of his co-workers. Such checks are required under state law. In the past three years, Health Department inspectors cited Royal Living Care Center six times for abusing or neglecting residents, a World analysis found. No other residential care home in Oklahoma had more. It also accumulated other violations. Several concerns about residents' finances surfaced at Royal Living Care Center in early 2008. For example:
The family of one man was never told of his discharge, despite sending the home $1,386 in rent and spending money. The administrator later showed health inspectors a canceled $800 check, but couldn't account for the other $586.
For at least seven months, a paranoid schizophrenic resident was charged $1,246 a month for a private bedroom, even though the room's rent was $1,000 a month. “That's a mistake,” the administrator said. “I'll correct it.”
Royal Living continued to deposit one resident's Social Security checks, even after the client was discharged nine months before.
The administrator said she remembered giving the client a refund but couldn't recall how much it was for.