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Family shares late mother’s story about alleged sex abuse by former Quincy chaplain

In 2015, Deanna Vahle’s mom, Kay, was a resident at Good Samaritan home in Quincy, when she got a phone call that made her heart sink.

“The nursing home called and said mom accused him of raping her,” said Vahle.

With her head spinning, Deanna had many questions..But, first…

“Well who is it? She said his name is James.”

Deanna’s mom was talking about the Good Samaritan chaplain at the time, James Riley.

“Mom are you sure?,” Deanna said she asked her mom, “Because you can ruin this man’s career, his home life, everything..She said ‘yep, yep he raped me’,” recalls Deanna.

After Kay reported that to the home, Deanna and her sisters accompanied their mom to the hospital for a mandatory exam.

Vahle says the exam did not show Kay was raped, according to doctors, but there was no way to prove or disprove other forms of sexual assault.

After that, Good Samaritan’s solution was to not let allow men in Kay’s room alone.

But, the allegations didn’t stop.

“She’d be like ‘James raped me’ and I’d say ‘mom, shh you cant keep saying this’…”

The Vahles were hesitant to believe their mom’s accusations because she suffered from Huntington’s Disease– a form of dementia.

“Regardless of what the situation actually was, the family should report it to the nursing home.. to the administrator,” said Regional Ombudsman Stephen Maxwell.

Maxwell helps nursing home residents and their families. He says any concerns should always be reported.

“They’re going to take it and investigate it, and see what pattern arises,” he explained. “Over time with a person with dementia.. a pattern will show up to say ‘this is a delusion or something from their past,’ maybe it’ll show a pattern that something is actually occurring currently.”

Fast forward to two years after Kay’s death, Riley was making headlines for sexually abusing other victims at Good Samaritan Home.

“When I saw his name and face on the news, I mean..I cried all day long,” Vahle said.

Riley was arrested this June after other allegations of inappropriate contact were reported by residents of the home. While that investigation was going on, Quincy Police say they were made aware of other alleged inappropriate sexual contact with female victims under the ages of 18 and 13.

“The incidents at Good Samaritan Home, those are criminal sexual abuse cases, aggravated sexual abuse cases, where they’re not necessarily intercourse..but inappropriate touching of sex organs,” said Adams County State’s Attorney Gary Farha.

While Deanna’s mom’s allegations were never prosecuted, Riley pleaded guilty this Monday to several other charges and was sentenced to 14 years in prison for other incidents at Good Samaritan home, and another 12 years for sexually assaulting members of his own family.

“I know you’re supposed to forgive and forget..But this is my mom and I’ll never forget what he did,” said Deanna.

Farha expects even more victims could come forward with allegations against Riley.

He reminds families there is no longer a statue of limitations for sex abuse cases in illinois, so it’s not too late to come forward if your loved one has been sexually assaulted in a nursing home.

Maxwell says there are steps you can take to protect your loved ones in care.

“Most people don’t know this but nursing home residents do have the right to have a video camera in their room, with consent of roommate, familes can have that installed,” said Maxwell.

He also said residents in care are less likely to be abused if their loved ones stay involved and visit them frequently.

To find an ombudsman in your are click here.

Management at Good Samaritan Home declined to be interviewed on-camera for this story.

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Alexandra Carter

WGEM News Anchor

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