Testimony ends in sex assault lawsuit

Date: March 21, 2006
The Scranton Times – 03/21/2006
BY: JAMES HAGGERTY STAFF WRITER

Testimony concluded Wednesday in a federal trial related to the sexual assault of an 86-year-old woman four years ago at an assisted-living facility in Wyoming County.

The former Nicholson woman, now 90 and living in Tennessee, is seeking more than $75,000 from Country Living Personal Care Home, Nicholson, and its owner, Shirley D. Sheridan, of Montrose, resulting from the sexual assault on Feb. 27, 2002.

It is The Times-Tribune’s policy not to identify sexual assault victims.

The woman, a resident of the home, was sexually assaulted in her room by Daniel Statham, then 31 and also a resident of the home. Mr. Statham, who is mentally handicapped, was a sexually violent predator convicted in 1995 of aggravated indecent assault involving a 14-year-old girl.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Blewitt, who presided at the three-day long trial, gave lawyers a month to submit proposed findings of fact in the case. He did not indicate when he will rule.

The woman’s complaint alleges the home and Mrs. Sheridan were negligent by disregarding her safety and rights, leading to the assault.

The victim’s attorney, Sean McDonough, said Mrs. Sheridan knew Mr. Statham was a convicted sexual offender and neglected to inform the staff about it. Mrs. Sheridan testified that she was not told about his Wayne County conviction and would not have agreed to house him if she knew.

Attorney Eugene Hickey, who represented the care home and Mrs. Sheridan, said the home was not at fault and Mr. Statham was “dumped” on the facility.

Mr. Statham pleaded guilty in February 2003 in Wyoming County Court to aggravated indecent assault in the case and was sentenced to five to 10 years in a state prison.

Contact the writer: jhaggerty@timesshamrock.com
©The Times-Tribune 2008
Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.