by William Skink
It might sound like a good idea to be getting people out of jails and other institutions, like Montana’s psychiatric hospital in Warm Springs, but if they don’t have a home to go to, then where are they supposed to go? The Poverello Center?
A developmentally disabled man who was recently discharged from Warm Springs to the homeless shelter in Missoula was allegedly raped in a bathroom at the shelter on Friday by another resident.
Here is allegedly what happened:
According to Missoula County Justice Court documents, Jace Toribio Bullcoming, 35, was charged with felony sexual intercourse without consent, Montana’s rape statute, after police began investigating a possible assault.
Bullcoming was staying at the Poverello Center when staff called police to remove him after he apparently licked another resident of the shelter, according to charging documents. He refused to leave until officers physically removed him.
After staff told police Bullcoming had possibly licked another resident’s face, police spoke with the alleged victim as part of a possible assault investigation. According to court records, police believed the victim was developmentally disabled, and later confirmed with his mental health case worker that he was disabled, and had recently been released from Montana State Hospital at Warm Springs.
That man told police that Bullcoming had led him into a bathroom at the homeless shelter where Bullcoming performed sexual acts on him. He told police he felt he didn’t have a choice and that Bullcoming was pressuring him, according to the documents.
The Poverello Center has been allowing people who consume drugs and alcohol to stay at their facility. Was this alleged rapist under the influence of anything when he apparently raped a mentally disabled man in the bathroom?
Earlier this year Sean Stevenson was killed at the shelter, allegedly by another resident who claimed self-defense. That individual, Johnny Lee Perry, has had no charges filed against him by the County Attorney’s office since the case was turned over by police detectives, and at this point it doesn’t look like any charges will ever be filed in this inexplicable case.
I’m not sure how many more acts of violence have to happen before those with the power to make changes acknowledge the Poverello Center can’t keep doing what they’re doing with their current resources amidst a global pandemic.
Governor Bullock needs to use his authority as chief executive of the state of Montana to mobilize resources to alleviate what has been allowed to fester at Montana’s largest emergency shelter for far too long.