Nursing home disputes state's claims that administrator, DON threatened staff in attempt to cover up sexual assault investigation

Share this content:

An administrator and director of nursing at a Wisconsin nursing home are in hot water for trying to stymie a sexual assault investigation involving residents. That's according to state officials, whose allegations have been strongly refuted by building management.

The Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services said female residents at Maplewood Sauk Prairie were in danger because there was not enough supervision of registered sex offender Galen J. Malisch, according to a lengthy report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. While the incidents were first reported in May, the report became public this week through a Freedom of Information Act request and subsequent reporting from the Baraboo News Republic.

In a statement to the newspaper, the nursing home's administrator said he could not discuss specifics, but the facility “will continue to work closely with the Department of Health Services to advance our shared goal of protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents.”

Malisch, 69, is accused of groping female residents in separate incidents. He faces two felony counts of second-degree sexual assault of a mentally ill victim, along with misdemeanor charges.

But in contention is whether administrative staff told employees to stay quiet during a state investigation of the assaults. One employee told an investigator “we all knew,” the newspaper reported. A social worker says she told the administrator and nursing director months ago that Malisch was a registered sex offender, the newspaper added. The director of nursing disputes that account.

The state said both leaders attempted to intimidate staff and threatened their jobs around discussing the investigation. The nursing home disagreed, noting in its corrective action plan that no intentional or attempted intimidation occured. Both the administrator and director of nursing have undergone additional training, the corrective action plan states.