Affidavit: Administrator tried to stop removal of residents from flooded nursing home
An affidavit included in a search warrant executed at Lake Arthur Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Center Thursday alleges that the administrator tried to prevent Port Arthur police officers from evacuating residents from the flooded facility in August.
Jeff Rosetta, administrative director of the Lake Arthur Place Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, is accused of being criminally negligent when he failed to evacuate residents.
According to the search warrant, Rosetta’s failure to get residents to safety on Aug. 30 “resulted in the injury of patients under the care of his facility.”
An affidavit attached to the search warrant and written by PAPD Detective Brian Fannette lays out a timeline showing that Rosetta and Lake Arthur Place Nursing and Rehabilitation had several days to prepare and execute evacuation plans.
It states that, on Aug. 30, “Det. Mike Hebert accessed Lake Arthur Place Nursing and Rehabilitation by means of boat because of the flooded conditions.”
Hebert was told by the director of nursing that Rosetta was in charge, and she took Hebert to Rosetta’s office. Hebert introduced himself as a PAPD officer, and noted water was 10 to 12 inches deep throughout the entire facility.
“He also noted the strong odor of human feces and urine throughout the facility,” the affidavit states. At the time, some of the patients were still in their rooms, while others were in hallways.
“The ones in wheel chairs had their lower extremities submerged in the flood waters,” the affidavit states. “Det. Hebert said it was obvious that the patients needed immediate assistance to evacuate and be placed out of harm’s way.”
Even though Hebert was in full uniform, Rosetta accused him of being a “fake cop,” and told him to “get out of my building.”
Hebert then turned to the director of nursing and told her to quickly execute a plan to evacuate the patients.
The officer then made a second unsuccessful attempt to get Rosetta to cooperate with the evacuation, but Rosetta refused, told the officers “you cannot take anyone out of this facility,” and attempted to push Hebert out of his way.
The PAPD officers physically restrained Rosetta with handcuffs so that the evacuation could be completed.
The search warrant authorized officers to look for computer systems and servers; medical records; cell phones; photographs and videos; witness statements; communications to Rosetta from Aug. 18 forward regarding evacuation plans; emails; GPS data; and wi-fi records, among other items.
Senior Care Centers, which owns Lake Arthur Place, in a statement on its social media page, said that “There has been considerable misinformation across social and traditional media about the steps that were taken in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey-related flooding,” and details steps it alleges employees took.
“On August 30, unknown volunteers forcibly removed our residents. Our team was not informed of the volunteers’ authority or proper training to do so, and our caregivers, who were trying to protect our residents in the chaos of the situation, were physically restrained during the evacuation.”
The statement also said, “We stand firmly behind our care team for their heroic efforts to safely evacuate our patients and residents amidst the chaotic and unforeseen conditions of the storm last week.”
To date, no charges have been filed in the case.
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