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Grand Forks disabilities home CEO denies claims in sex negligence lawsuit

Sandi Marshall

GRAND FORKS—The leader of a Grand Forks nonprofit serving people with disabilities is denying claims made in a lawsuit that the organization housed a known sexual predator with a man who was later raped and attempted to cover up its actions.

Sandi Marshall, CEO of Development Homes Inc. and a Grand Forks City Council member, said she intends to push back on the civil lawsuit.

"The accusations are entirely false and based upon information provided by a former disgruntled employee," Marshall said in a statement. "We will aggressively defend our employees and the company."

The lawsuit, filed Dec.12 by the mother of the victim, charges DHI, Marshall and other DHI employees with negligence, failure to provide a safe environment, violating the victim's rights and inflicting emotional distress.

It alleges Marshall and other DHI leaders knew about a history of sexual misconduct from one of their residents, but still put him in a residential unit with a 40-year-old man with a diminished mental capacity without notifying his guardian of the new roommate's past actions in January 2016.

On May 22, 2016, the suit claims a home manager, Konah Zunugo, also a defendant in the suit, witnessed the new roommate engaging in sexual intercouse with the victim. It also claims the victim's guardian was not informed until the next day and that medical care was not provided to the victim.

When the victim's guardian asked for a law enforcement investigation, the suit claims DHI and Marshall tried to cover up the crime by asking employee Mark Indvik to become the assaulter's guardian to prevent police from interviewing him.

Mark and Amelia Indvik, listed as defendants in the suit, did apply for emergency guardian status of the alleged perpetrator on May 26, 2016, according to court records. They were awarded emergency guardian status on May 27, the day the lawsuit claims police tried to interview the alleged perpetrator and were denied by Indvik.

The lawsuit claims Marshall told DHI staffers to not cooperate with the investigation and encouraged them not to talk to anyone outside of the "DHI family."

No hearing dates have been set in the case.