The state has substantiated another finding of neglect at KC Care LLC, a Seaside-based adult foster home provider fighting to stay in business.
An investigation found Ken Biamont, the registered agent for KC Care, failed to report sexual abuse of a resident by a staff member. The finding stems from previous state investigations that determined a woman who worked for KC Care had a sexual relationship with a man living in adult foster homes.
Biamont, through his attorneys, denied the state’s finding and asked for judicial review in Circuit Court.
The latest turn, outlined in court filings last week, is among a thicket of legal and administrative responses by KC Care to the state Department of Human Services’ intent to revoke the provider’s licenses.
KC Care continues to operate adult foster homes in Astoria and Warrenton for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities while appeals are pending.
Investigations into abuse and neglect at KC Care helped uncover poor management and a lack of oversight in Clatsop County’s developmental disability program.
Last week, county commissioners voted to transfer oversight to the Department of Human Services, which will contract with Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare, a private nonprofit, to provide services and coordinate with adult foster homes, group homes and supported living.
Biamont and KC Care are challenging the license revocations through the state’s administrative hearings process, while seeking judicial review of specific findings of abuse and neglect in Circuit Court.
In April, Judge Dawn McIntosh agreed to allow Biamont to intervene in the review of the former caregiver accused of sexual abuse and neglect. A trial is scheduled for October.
Biamont also asked the court to review the state’s finding that he neglected a young man in his care who was on probation for harassment involving girls. The man was not supposed to be around children, but the state found Biamont let an employee with five children stay in an apartment under a foster home in Seaside. A trial is set for September.
Judge McIntosh dismissed a petition from Biamont to review the state’s finding that he neglected a young woman by moving to transfer her from a Gearhart foster home to a provider in Portland before an administrative hearing on her living arrangement. The judge ruled in May that Biamont’s attorneys missed the deadline to file the petition.
Allegations of sexual abuse at KC Care surfaced in 2016.
Both the caregiver and the man denied having a sexual relationship. Roger Bighill, who investigated for Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare, determined the allegations were inconclusive.
Last year, however, the man told state investigators he denied having sex with the caregiver because he was on probation for third-degree rape and unable to have intimate relationships without approval from his probation officer. He confirmed the sexual relationship, according to the state, after being assured it would not jeopardize his probation.
In court filings, Biamont’s attorneys describe the man as having fetal alcohol spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and claim he has a history of making false and inconsistent statements. The attorneys characterize a witness who complained about the sexual relationship as a transgender person with autism and a history of making false claims.
Biamont, his attorneys claim, did not know of the allegations against the caregiver until he was informed by Bighill as part of the investigation in 2016.
But a state investigator found Biamont had given different explanations of when he found out. Based on information and witness statements, the investigator concluded there is reason to believe Biamont had knowledge of the alleged sexual relationship before it was reported to Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare.
Biamont’s attorneys have called the state’s investigations and findings against KC Care biased and procedurally flawed.
The latest finding of neglect against Biamont for failing to report sexual abuse, the attorneys argue, is “based upon unreliable statements from flawed investigations that were improperly influenced by biased or incompetent witnesses.”
The Department of Human Services nearly pulled the county’s developmental disability contract last fall after detailing a pattern of inconsistent monitoring of adult foster homes and raising doubts about the program’s management.
Bighill was removed as the program’s manager at Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare, but he has since been brought back to work in the program.
“The decision to have Mr. Bighill return to CBH in a different role was reviewed carefully and thoughtfully,” Amy Baker, the executive director of Clatsop Behavioral Healthcare, said in an email. “As an organization whose mission it is to provide the highest level of quality service to our community, we see every decision related to client care as the most important decision we make.”