KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke has an update on our KELOLAND News investigation into LifeScape, a Sioux Falls organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities.
KELOLAND News has learned of new charges against a third former employee accused of abusing the same victim in the Samantha Wiesler case. Wiesler is also now facing a more serious felony charge.
Kala Rebelein is also facing three felony charges for abuse of a disabled adult and 6 simple assault charges.
Two weeks after Samantha Wiesler is accused of abusing a LifeScape resident in March, 31-year-old Kala Rebelein is also accused of abusing the same young woman.
The 21-year-old victim has Angelman Syndrome, and can only say one word: “mom.” LifeScape told police detectives that the victim has the mental capacity of a three to six-year-old child.
A LifeScape employee discovered the alleged abuse on video when she was looking at Wiesler’s case, which was captured on a video camera in the victim’s room.
Rebelein, who was the victim’s caretaker, was supposed to be getting her ready for bed. According to court papers, Rebelein is seen on the video forcing the young woman into her bedroom by grabbing her hand and bending her fingers backwards. In the video, documents say the victim can be seen resisting when Rebelein tried to change her into her pajamas.
Rebelein is seen on the video using both of her hands to grab the victim’s left hand and bend her fingers backwards again. After Rebelein releases her grip, the victim shakes her hand and looks at it.
As the victim continues to resist changing, the camera captures Rebelein bending back her fingers two more times. Video from the hallway recorded Rebelein holding the victim by a clump of her hair and escorting her back to her bedroom.
Rebelein refused to be interviewed by detectives.
Rebelein will make her first court appearance next week.
Wiesler is also back in court next week after a grand jury indicted her on a felony charge for abuse of the same victim.
Another former LifeScape employee, Jodi Aulner will also appear in court next week.
She is accused of stealing more than $1,000 from three group home residents with developmental disabilities, under her care.
Our investigation also first brought you the story of the suicide of a LifeScape resident, who was supposed to be under suicide watch.
The Attorney General’s office also conducted an investigation into Medicaid fraud in that resident’s case. LifeScape agreed to pay back the state $15,000 for Medicaid charges for services that never took place.
Because of all these incidents, the South Dakota Department of Human Services placed LifeScape on probation.
The state told lawmakers this week that all the incidents were reported and investigated correctly by LifeScape.