Trial date set for Kent man in rape case

A Kent caregiver faces an Oct. 29 trial date on a second-degree rape charge in connection with an assault on a physically and mentally disabled woman under the care of a Kent assisted-living contractor.

A Kent caregiver faces an Oct. 29 trial date on a second-degree rape charge in connection with an assault on a physically and mentally disabled woman under the care of a Kent assisted-living contractor.

The trial date for Joseph W. Thurura, 31, was scheduled at a hearing Monday in King County Superior Court.

Thurura pleaded not guilty July 2 to the second-degree rape charge.

Meanwhile, an investigation by the Residential Care Services division of the State Department of Health and Social Services found that a Kent assisted-living contractor followed proper practices in Thurura’s hiring and employment.

Integrated Living Services, 655 W. Smith St., employed Thurura as a caregiver when the attacks occurred between Dec. 1, 2007 and March 18, 2008 against the 44-year-old woman. The woman was living in a Kent apartment and receiving care from ILS. The company contracts with the state to provide residential services to people with profound or severe developmental disabilities.

Kent Police arrested Thurura June 17 for investigation of second-degree rape. He was at the offices of ILS when he was arrested.

King County prosecutors said the woman is incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse because she is physically helpless and mentally incapacitated. The woman is legally blind and unable to speak. She has the cognitive level of an 11-month-old child.

The state investigated the assisted-living company as soon as evidence that the woman had been attacked first came to light in March.

“We didn’t find any failed practice or system problems, so there’s no action we can take,” said Sheldon Plumer, a quality assurance administrator with the state’s Residential Care Services, in a phone interview Sept. 4.

Greg Miller, executive director of ILS, did not return voice mails left for him by the Kent Reporter on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The state sets regulations for all aspects of supported living services provided by contractors.

“One of the first things is we see is if they did a background check and they had,” Plumer said. “He (Thurura) had a clear background check. That’s the main thing, whether he should’ve been disqualified from being hired.”

According to charging papers, detectives used a DNA sample from Thurura to connect him with the woman, who had suffered a miscarriage from being assaulted.

State officials first investigated the case in March after the woman had been taken to a hospital, and evidence of the miscarriage came to light. Investigators wanted to find out if the provider followed regulations.

The state also investigated the care provided to the woman by ILS.

“They took action when the individual needed medical care,” Plumer said.

There are no state regulations to ensure that a female patient will not be left alone with a male caregiver or vice versa, Plumer said.

Plumer added, however, that such a provision can be developed between the service provider and the patient or the family of a patient.

“We go in to see if a care plan was followed, but we do not develop it,” Plumer said.

Investigators checked to make sure ILS followed regulations.

“We look at the systems the provider has in place to ensure the health and safety of individuals,” Plumer explained, adding that ILS did not violate any state regulations.

ILS has worked as an assistant-living contractor with the state for a long time, said Marybeth Poch, regional administrator in King County for the state Division of Developmental Disabilities.

“They are a solid program and have been a good provider for people who are developmentally disabled,” Poch said. “The issue ended up focused on one staff person.”

Poch said the woman no longer lives in the apartment where the alleged attacks occurred. Poch said she could not say where the woman had been moved, but state case managers worked with relatives of the woman to find her a new home.

Thurura told detectives in a March 26 interview that he had never had sexual intercourse with the woman, according to charging papers.

Thurura remains at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent on $250,000 bail.

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