BLOOMINGTON — A lawsuit related to sexual images of residents posted on Facebook has been filed against a McLean County nursing home.
Two people identified by their initials and as co-administrators for an unnamed, now deceased, resident of Meadows Mennonite Retirement Community near Chenoa allege that the facility failed to protect residents of the dementia care unit.
Residents' privacy and dignity were violated by the alleged unauthorized and inappropriate photography of residents, including "toileting, bathing, resting in bed" while partially nude and in embarrassing and humiliating circumstances, claims the lawsuit filed by LeRoy attorney Thomas J. Pliura, who also is a physician.
Two individuals believed by authorities to be responsible for taking and posting the photos and video of residents are referred to in the lawsuit as Jane Doe, a former nursing home employee, and John Doe, her ex-boyfriend.
Criminal charges are pending against Samantha J. Brown, 29, and Michael Shawn Scurlock, 47. Both are charged with nonconsensual dissemination of sexual images. A warrant is pending for Scurlock's arrest.
The criminal charges resulted from a McLean County Sheriff's Department investigation that prosecutors said involved reviewing about 55,000 pages of documents, including records from Facebook and internet service providers.
The nursing home was fined $25,000 in July by the state Department of Public Health for allegedly failing to protect residents and failing to report the posting of unauthorized images on social media.
Meadows CEO Jay Biere previously said the images were posted by the former boyfriend of a certified nursing assistant who was one of two employees terminated after the company learned of the accusations.
Biere declined to comment Monday on the lawsuit, but previously told The Pantagraph that officials took action as soon as they found out about the images. They immediately notified IDPH, the sheriff's office and the families of the residents whose pictures were posted, Biere said.
A spokeswoman for IDPH also declined to comment Monday on the nursing home complaint that remains under review by the state. Meadows has requested a hearing with the agency.
According to the lawsuit, Jane Doe contacted Meadows' administrator on March 9 to report the images were posted on public websites, including Meadows' own social media page. The lawsuit stated that Jane Doe admitted to investigators with Public Health and the sheriff's department that she had passed along photos taken by her and other employees to her then-boyfriend.
The person identified as John Doe admitted he received inapproriate images over the course of a year and posted them on social media, states the lawsuit.
An April 6 case management conference is scheduled for the lawsuit that seeks more than $50,000 in damages.