HOUSTON—An assisted living facility in northeast Harris County is answering more questions about the relationship between the owners and an employee accused of raping a patient.
11 News has learned the suspect was dating one of the owner’s relatives and also lived in a trailer located within the facility’s fenced-in compound.
Authorities say the suspect, Rickie Thompson, repeatedly raped a patient last May. At the time, he worked at The Roc Care Center as a custodian.
“He didn’t receive any special treatment and was cleared to work here by the state after his background check,” said Isaac Allison, one of the owners of the family-run establishment.
According to authorities, the victim is a 22-year-old woman who has the mental capacity of a little girl. She reported the assaults to managers at the facility, who said that they immediately notified the police.
“We want justice to be served and to make sure this never happens again,” said Allison.
Both the state and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office launched simultaneous investigations. It wasn’t until mid-October that Thompson was arrested and charged with a crime. A spokesperson for the Sheriff’s Office said investigators were waiting on the state’s findings first, but acknowledged the adult sex crimes division has only three full-time detectives.
“Unfortunately, we too, are victims of the economy,” said Christina Garza. “We do have our investigators working with a big load of cases.”
Allison said the company hired Thompson after running a criminal background check and speaking with his references. Thompson is a convicted felon with a criminal history dating back to 1975, but Allison said the check they ran revealed only minor offenses.
Thompson’s criminal history includes convictions for theft, drug possession and assault on a family member. A state lawmaker from Houston believes Thompson should never have been hired in the first place.
“It’s outrageous that something like this wasn’t caught ahead of time,” said Armando Walle, a Democratic House member who sits on the Health and Human Services Committee.
The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services prohibits mental health facilities from hiring people convicted of serious crimes. A DADS spokesperson said The Roc could face fines and other disciplinary action as a result.
11 News has obtained records of facility visits from the last five years. They show DADS has cited the Roc six times for licensure violations.
The victim has been declared a ward of Harris County. She now resides at the Children’s Assessment Center in southeast Houston.