Mentally Disabled Woman Sues Liberty City Care Facility After Sexual Assault, Forced Abortion

A mentally disabled woman is now suing the Liberty City living facility where she was sexually assaulted and impregnated by a caretaker.

Two years ago, 27-year-old Katrina Whitehead arrived at Westchester Hospital with stomach swelling. Instead, doctors quickly discovered that she was four months pregnant. She was forced to have an abortion.

Worst of all, the horrible crime was easily preventable. Criminal records show that the facility -- Consumer Supports Associates Villas, Inc. -- never should have hired the caretaker to begin with.

After Whitehead's hospitalization, police compared DNA evidence from the terminated pregnancy to that of employees at Consumer Supports. They quickly arrested Paret Baker, a then 50-year-old behavioral technician, and charged him with sexual battery on a person with mental disabilities.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison last month.

But a quick glance at Baker's long criminal record indicates that Consumer Supports never should have hired him in the first place.

State law bars almost anyone with a felony conviction from providing care at an assisted living facility. Yet, Baker had felony convictions for burglary and grand theft dating back to 1983. He had also been convicted of misdemeanor battery (twice) and obstruction of justice, and had been charged with cocaine trafficking. The drug charges were never prosecuted, however.

Whitehead's lawsuit argues that the facility breached its duty "by negligently and carelessly hiring, retaining, and failing to supervising its employee, one Paret Baker, resulting in said employee having sexual intercourse with the incompetent female resident." The suit was filed on Whitehead's behalf by The Guardianship Program of Dade County.

Willie Mary Givens, Consumer Supports' director and president, declined to discuss the case when contacted by phone.

"I have no comment to make at all," she said. "None sir."

Records show that Consumer Supports is a for-profit organization that runs several care facilities in Liberty City. They also show Givens on the board of several other companies including Vision of Victory International Ministries and the non-profits Mary's House and Open Hands to the Children corporation.

Incredibly, an employee tells New Times that, despite the sexual abuse and ongoing lawsuit, Katrina Whitehead still lives in a Consumer Supports home.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes. Follow this journalist on Twitter @MikeMillerMiami.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael E. Miller was a staff writer at Miami New Times for five years. His work for New Times won many national awards, including back-to-back-to-back Sigma Delta Chi medallions. He now covers local enterprise for the Washington Post.