An assault that led to the death of a resident at a Fayette care facility was the latest in a string of criminal offenses that have occurred there this year.
Three men have been injured and a woman was sexually assaulted within the past five months at Prairie View Residential Care Facility, according to a review of records obtained by The Gazette. In the latest incident on Sept. 17, resident Kris A. Simpson, 57, was attacked by another resident and later died at a hospital.
Matthew T. Braun, 35, has been charged with first-degree murder in Simpson’s death. According to a criminal complaint, security camera footage showed Braun attacking Simpson “for no apparent reason,” which caused Simpson to fall and hit his head on the corner of a furnace, knocking him unconscious.
“The defendant proceeded to hunch over the victim and strike him with a closed fist several times,” the complaint reads.
Simpson did not regain consciousness and died Monday at a La Crosse, Wis. hospital. The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and local law enforcement are investigating the incident.
As many as 90 residents live at Prairie View, which is located on a dead end road between Fayette and West Union. The facility serves people who are unable to sufficiently care for themselves without 24-hour support.
Fayette County Sheriff Marty Fisher said calls to the facility have gone up in recent years. On at least nine occasions this year, deputies have responded to the facility and made an arrest. Charges have included assault, prescription drug possession and criminal mischief.
“Obviously we do have concerns about the increase in activity there,” Fisher said.
Records show the recent incident involving Braun was not his first brush with the law while at Prairie View. Less than five weeks earlier, on Aug. 15, Braun was arrested for an assault on another resident. Authorities determined Braun repeatedly punched a male resident, leaving cuts and bruises.
“It was a very aggressive act on his part,” Fisher said.
The male resident was transported to a West Union hospital, where he was treated and released, authorities said. His name was not released, but Fisher confirmed that it was not Kris Simpson.
Braun was convicted of simple assault and sentenced to 40 hours of community service, according to online court records. He spent two days in jail, but apparently soon returned to Prairie View.
Sylvia Mork, administrator at Prairie View, said in a statement that Braun was immediately removed from the facility following the incident with Simpson and has since been discharged. She declined further comment Thursday, citing health privacy laws.
“Our goal is always to provide for the safety and welfare of our clients,” Mork said in a statement.
State regulators ruled Prairie View staff did not follow the facility’s “sexual expression” policy when a female resident reported a sexual assault on May 15. According to a report from the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, the resident told staff a male resident who had been a friend of hers rubbed her shoulder and breast area and fondled her in her bedroom.
Bakir Talic, 58, of Waterloo, was arrested on a charge of third-degree sexual abuse and later pleaded guilty to intent to commit sexual abuse.
In the inspection completed June 19, officials found that staff learned about the sexual assault report around 3:45 p.m. on May 14, but did not report the incident to law enforcement until the next morning. Staff also failed to document any increased head checks on the resident who was accused of the crime, according to the report.
About a month later, a male and a female resident were arrested for assaulting another male resident. Maxwell A. Henning, 23, was later convicted of assault causing bodily injury, and Edwina A. Lewis, 28, pleaded guilty to simple assault.
Fisher said many of the residents at the privately-run facility are not local residents. He said he is unaware of the policies that exist at the facility, but knows officials there have made changes to increase security.
INCIDENTS AT PRAIRIE VIEW
May 15 – Female resident reports sexual assault. Bakir Talic, 58, of Waterloo, charged with third-degree sexual abuse, later pleads guilty to intent to commit sexual abuse.
June 17 – Maxwell A. Henning, 22, and Edwina A. Lewis, 28, arrested for assaulting a male resident. Henning was convicted of assault causing bodily injury and Lewis pleaded guilty to simple assault.
Aug. 15 – Matthew T. Braun arrested for assault on another male resident. Braun later convicted of simple assault.
Sept. 17 – Matthew T. Braun arrested for an assault on Kris Simpson. Simpson later dies. Braun charged with first-degree murder.