Iowa court rules state had ‘no duty’ to protect nursing home residents from sex offender

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POMEROY, Iowa (AP) — A court says Iowa authorities had no duty to protect residents of a nursing home from a sexual predator who assaulted a 95-year-old woman after being placed there by court order.

The Iowa Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that the state had no duty to supervise William Cubbage, 87, once he was discharged from its treatment program for dangerous sex offenders in 2010.

The court says state officials didn’t have to develop a safety plan for Cubbage once he was at the Pomeroy Care Center.

Cubbage lived in the Iowa Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders from 2002 to November 2010, and then was immediately placed into Pomeroy Care Center, according to USA Today. It was in 2011 that an 8-year-old visitor overheard Cubbage molesting the woman.

Cubbage had been placed in the unit due to his history of sexual abuse.

In 1987, he was convicted of lascivious acts with a child. In 1997, Cubbage pleaded guilty to indecent contact with a child in Muscatine County. In 2000, Cubbage pleaded guilty to assault with intent to commit sexual abuse in Des Moines County.

After his admitted assault on the female resident, Cubbage was moved to the Iowa Medical and Classification Center in Oakdale, Iowa until 2014 when he was moved into a geriatric ward at the Mental Health Institute in Clarinda, Iowa, reports the Des Moines Register.

On March 9, 2016 he was charged in Buchanan County with assault with intent to commit sexual abuse resulting in injury following a complaint made to the department in January 2016. The Buchanan County press release stated Cubbage lives in Independence, Iowa.

Willis Hamilton is a lawyer representing the estate of the victim, who died in 2012. He says he can’t understand how state officials can argue Cubbage was too dangerous to be released but “put him in a nursing home with little old ladies” with no protections.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.