Lawsuit filed after woman with autism raped at Alabama Mardi Gras

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

(WKRG) – The family of a 25-year-old woman with a rare and severe form of autism known as Phelan- McDermid Syndrome has filed a civil suit against her caretakers after she was raped in Downtown Mobile while under their watch.

According to Mobile Police, officers were flagged down by civilians the morning after Fat Tuesday because they saw a naked woman walking near Bienville Square. Police found the 25-year-old in a parking lot near the park. According to the lawsuit, the woman was “naked, bloody, and alone on the asphalt.” It goes on to say “one of the responding officers wrapped [the woman] in his jacket to cover her nudity, and ordered her transported via ambulance to USA [Medical Center] as an unidentified Jane doe.”

According to the lawsuit, doctors concluded the woman had been forcefully raped and performed a rape kit and began monitoring to see if she had contracted HIV.

Later it was uncovered that the woman was staying at the Candlewood Suites along with another special needs resident after the owners and employees at the Rhema House( also referred to as “Agape House” or “Agape Ministries”)   uprooted them from their home in Axis, Alabama so “the staff of the group home could party during Mardi Gras.”

The lawsuit states, ” The existing duty to protect [the woman] from her ‘wandering risk’ became even more greater because of the deliberate decision to place [the woman] in an unfamiliar setting surrounded by the cacophony and chaos of Mardi Gras. Yet, these defendants had little or no plan to provide [the woman] with twenty-four-hour care and supervision. Instead. the focus of the Chastang’s [owners of Rhema House], the group home, and their employees was on the party.”

According to Mobile Police, it is believed that the woman left her hotel room. She wasn’t discovered until the morning after Fat Tuesday.

Calls to Rodney Chastang and Shetecia Chasting have gone unanswered.

The lawsuit also lists AltaPointe as a defendant, but a spokesperson told us that the Chastang’s are not employed with them.

Volunteers of America Southeast, also named in the lawsuit, has not returned our calls.

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