Vicious Assault From a Home Health Aide

     NEWARK, N.J. (CN) – A woman suffered 11 broken ribs and severe burns from a brutal attack by her husband’s home health aide, she claims in court.
     “The beating, punching, kicking, and pouring boiling water onto Joan’s head continued for approximately forty-five (45) minutes,” according to the complaint filed Aug. 17 in Essex County Superior Court.
     Joan Hughes-Slakter and Edmund Slakter say they contacted Zoe International Homecare in early 2013 to have a caregiver come to their home on East 72nd Street in Manhattan.
     “Edmund has been confined to a bed and requires the assistance of a full time health aide for approximately the last four (4) years,” according to the complaint.
     The couple says Zoe sent over Christopher Iwaniuk, a certified health aide from Lakewood, N.J., to live with them four days a week.
     Edmund’s care was apparently without incident until May 16, 2014, when an irate Iwaniuk allegedly confronted Joan at around noon.
     “Iwaniuk made verbal accusations against Joan, and then punched her with a closed fist into the side of Joan’s jaw,” the complaint states.
     “Joan fell to the floor from the punch, and Iwaniuk immediately continued to kick her and punch her while she was on the floor.
     “In addition to the beating, punching and kicking Joan, Iwaniuk poured boiling water onto Joan’s head at least two (2) separate times.”
     When a worried Edmund called out during the attack, Iwaniuk replied that everything was “fine,” according to the complaint.
     Joan says she was lying on the kitchen floor, “with her blood everywhere” and Iwaniuk standing over her, when her husband’s massage therapist entered the apartment through an unlocked door.
     This woman called 911 after Iwaniuk admitted to her, “I beat Joan and I am going to jail,” according to the complaint.
     Joan says she had to get stitches and spent three days in intensive care with 11 broken ribs, severe burns, chipped teeth and a concussion.
     She then needed a professional caregiver of her own for two weeks.
     Joan now lives in Essex Fells, N.J., while Edmund is a patient at the Alaris Health Center in West Orange, N.J., according to the complaint.
     Zoe International Homecare, which bills itself as a premier care-giving service for “discerning clients, including celebrities, top executives, and professional families, has received favorable reviews over the years from several magazines, including Celeb Staff and Town and Country.
     Zoe International advertises that it conducts criminal background checks and verifies references for all its caregivers. “All applicants are thoroughly screened before sending them out to any client’s home,” the firm’s website states. “It’s an absolute necessity at our agency and we make no exceptions in this matter.”
     In addition to Iwaniuk and Zoe, the Slakters named Zoe’s parent company Celebrities Group Inc. as defendants to their action.
     They seek punitive damages for assault and battery, negligence, and other claims.
     The couple’s attorney, Anthony Juliano with Brach Eichler in Roseland, did not return calls for comment.
     Iwaniuk could not be located for comment. Zoe International has not returned a request for comment.

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