Collaboration in Civic Spheres

State worker sexually abused vulnerable patient at Shoreline facility

by Matt Rosenberg September 16th, 2011

With his signature on a state health department disciplinary document, a former nursing assistant at a group home operated in Shoreline by the Washington Department of Social and Health Services admitted he sexually abused a developmentally-delayed 57-year-old female patient in his care, and agreed to surrender his license for 10 years for unprofessional conduct.

According to the “Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Agreed Order” that he recently signed, Bart Finkbiner, of Shoreline, from about November 2009 until late January 2010 “sexually abused Patient A on multiple occasions” without consent, including vaginal and anal intercourse, and forcing her to perform oral sex on him. The order states that a strong administrative penalty is justified because of the vulnerability of the victim and because the sexual contact was non-consensual.

According to the King County Prosecutor’s Office, Finkbiner worked at Densmore House in Shoreline. The address was 18814 Densmore Ave. N., according to a police report. The site was operated by the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, which also employed Finkbiner. The Agreed Order describes it as “a semi-private, residential living environment for developmentally-delayed and/or mentally ill individuals.” DSHS records appear to indicate it is no longer in operation.

DSHS in December 2010 issued a finding against Finkbiner of abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult, and an agency spokesperson said he resigned effective June 25, 2011. In a related but separate proceeding, the Washington State Department of Health – which oversees health care workers – filed administrative charges of unprofessional conduct against Finkbiner in early August of 2011, leading to the Agreed Order signed by Finkbiner and dated August 30, in which he surrendered his nursing assistant license for 10 years. The health department posted the document online and announced the action against Finkbiner on Sept. 13.

According to Deputy Chief of Staff Ian Goodhew, the King County Prosecutor’s Office is still reviewing the case but it may be difficult to charge and try Finkbiner for rape because his signed agreed order with the health department, technically termed “an adopted admission,” is by itself not enough to support a legal claim of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and in addition the developmentally-delayed victim, who reported the case to the department, gave inconsistent statements in later interviews about which days sexual contact occurred, and which acts on which days. No other witnesses were located, Goodhew added.

In response to a reporter’s message left at his Shoreline residence, Finkbiner left a message that he was “very depressed” about the case, that he “didn’t want this to be drawn out” and that he does “not want to work with this population” any more – a reference to developmentally challenged and/or mentally ill individuals.

Finkbiner’s year of birth is listed as 1955 in state records online.

UPDATE, 10:36 a.m.: In a phone interview this morning, Finkbiner denied committing the acts described in the health department Agreed Order he signed. He added that he signed the document because he could not afford an attorney and did not want co-workers to have to be involved in an attempt by him to contest the charges at the health department level. Finkbiner declined to answer further questions.

OTHER RECENT CASES WE’VE REPORTED:

Everett-based counselor loses license for sex with patient

Foreign lottery fixation leads to license revocation for Yakima optometrist

State: nurse at Auburn facility took patients’ opiates, worked under influence

State: patient abandoned by home nursing aide, found on floor

Federal Way hospital nurse charged with rape of patient

Matt Rosenberg is founder and editor of Public Data Ferret, a project of the non-profit Public Eye Northwest.


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