HOUSTON - After the alleged brutal rape of an 88-year-old woman at the Brookdale West University Senior Living complex, new questions are swirling about Brookdale and if it did enough to keep its residents safe.
"Why weren't actions taken that could have prevented this and what are they doing moving forward?" said Jared Capps, the attorney now representing the victim.
Capps says his client was a fighter.
"Her actions taken in the snap of a finger, the heat of the moment are what brought this person to justice ultimately," Capps said.
Prosecutors say Justin Ellis broke in through an open window before beating and sodomizing the 88-year-old. It was fingerprint and DNA evidence that helped police ID and arrest Ellis. The victim is still working to process what happened.
"She's doing better, the hope is she continues to improve," Capps said. "But it's going to be a long recovery as she comes back form what happened."
For now the focus is on keep the victim and other residents of the Brookdale West University complex safe. According to Capps, he's learned the company sent out a warning letter to residents before the alleged rape.
"Brookdale did reach out a short time before the attack letting folks know that a break-in had occurred, a break-in through windows," Capps said.
It's unclear if Ellis was the person involved in that break-in. But Capps says more should have been done to ensure every window in the facility was closed. The victim lived on the second floor o f the complex. That means to get to her, Ellis would have had to bypass multiple levels of security undetected.
"Something like this is completely preventable," Capps said. "Especially for our most vulnerable population like this."
Brookdale sent KHOU 11 News this new statement in response to our inquiries today:
"The safety and security of our independent living residents are our top priorities. We were not made aware of any other sexual assaults in the area prior to this assault. We are deeply shocked and saddened about the incident that took place on the evening of June 11. We notified residents on June 12 about the occurrence and held two follow up meetings with residents on June 13. We are continuing to communicate openly and responsively with our residents.
"We have worked closely with police during the investigation and are relieved to hear a suspect is in custody for this crime. We are grateful to the police department for their work on this and only wish that justice had been served in past cases involving this suspect. In response to the situation, we’ve reviewed and enhanced existing security measures, including but not limited to, camera surveillance on the property. We have met with residents, families and associates to reinforce security measures. I’m sure you understand why we can’t share details about what we are doing to improve the safety of our residents.
"I’m sorry but for privacy reasons we cannot provide any other information at this time. All additional inquiries should be directed to the police."
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