Sexual Assault at Senior Living Facility
Among the most vulnerable populations in the world are senior citizens. It’s one of a number of reasons why there are so many residential developers catering specifically to that demographic. They offer seniors quality apartments with excellent amenities and the ability to socialize with one another. However, keeping their tenants safe is a major consideration as it is for all landlords who operate apartment complexes.
Recently, 28-year-old Bryan Monasterio entered a senior apartment complex right here in Houston and sexually assaulted one of the residents. According to police, he forced open a secured door and attacked a 77-year-old woman. Monasterio claimed that he was a maintenance man and covered the peephole that allowed the resident to see who was knocking on her door. However, the question remains: How did he get onto the property in the first place?
Sexual Assault and Civil Lawsuits
Monasterio will be charged with aggravated sexual assault of an elderly along with burglary and other related crimes. However, it’s hard to look past the fact that the apartment complex fostered a condition that allowed one of their tenants to be raped by a person who entered the property without having authorization to be there. The question then becomes: Is the apartment complex liable for allowing one of their tenants to be attacked by a random member of the public.
The answer is yes. Apartment complexes owe their residents a duty of care to protect them from safety concerns. In this case, they failed in that duty of care and one of their tenants was raped as a result. Lawsuits like this are filed under a theory of negligent security.
Foreseeability is Key
In any premises liability lawsuit, which a negligent security lawsuit is, the plaintiff must be able to show that the problem was foreseeable to the owner. For instance, if the assailant entered the premises to target seniors on the property, there is an assumption that the security breach would fall on the property owners and managers. Most apartment complexes do have round-the-clock security. It is especially necessary in the case where the rental units are being marketed to senior citizens. If the apartment complex advertised round-the-clock security and still allowed a member of the public to access the senior dwelling units, then they may be held liable for both negligent security and breach of warranty.
However this happened, the apartment complex must be held responsible for failing to provide their tenants with adequate protection from members of the public. However, there may be instances where the owner could not have reasonably anticipated a problem. For instance, if one of the residents left a door open, it can be argued that there was no way that the owners could have known. Still, there exist technologies to provide security guards with data when doors are left open. The existence of a remedy is enough to prove negligence.
Talk to a Houston Premises Liability Attorney Today
If you’ve been injured on-premises, the Houston assault & negligent security attorneys at Livingston & Flowers will analyze your case and help you file a claim if we can prove the owner or operator of the property was negligent. Talk to us today for a free consultation.