Compass Health responds to rape allegation at Arroyo Grande center

Compass Health Inc. issued a statement Tuesday saying its employees and residents are “sickened and concerned” by allegations made in a lawsuit filed Friday that a 78-year-old female patient was raped by an employee at the Arroyo Grande Care Center in 2015.

The Tribune published an article about the lawsuit Monday after several calls and voicemails left to the main administration lines of the Arroyo Grande Care Center and Compass Health’s Grover Beach headquarters throughout the day were not returned.

The company and its staff were not aware of the allegations or an ongoing criminal investigation by the Arroyo Grande Police Department, Compass Health Vice President Angela Hopkins wrote in the statement.

An Arroyo Grande police commander confirmed the investigation Monday.

Our entire company, our employees and our residents, are both sickened and concerned by these allegations.

Compass Health Inc. Vice President Angela Hopkins

“We are shocked by this news, not just because we found out about it in the same way the general public did, but also because this type of act has never occurred in one of our facilities, and we would never tolerate a scenario where that could occur,” Hopkins wrote. “For the safety of our residents, all of our employees undergo criminal background checks and are mandated reporters, trained to report any and all allegations of mistreatment of an elder adult in our care.

“Our entire company, our employees and our residents, are both sickened and concerned by these allegations,” according to the statement. “We have never been contacted by the resident or her family about anything of this nature. We are cooperating with the Arroyo Grande Police Department’s investigation into this matter and are in contact with the California Department of Public Health.

“Our concern and commitment remains with the well-being of our residents and the community.”

The lawsuit, filed Friday in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on behalf of the female patient’s son, Mark Roppolo of Grover Beach, accuses the Arroyo Grande Care Center and Compass Health of negligence, willful misconduct and negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Several calls to Roppolo’s attorney, San Luis Obispo-based Jesse Hill, were not returned Monday. A court hearing for the civil case is scheduled for December.

Matt Fountain: 805-781-7909, @MattFountain1