Man accused of raping special needs clients certified by state for caretaker job

David Makynen confessed to abusing clients
Posted at 6:52 PM, Dec 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-15 18:52:37-05

The two men arrested this month in Manatee county for sexually abusing adults with special needs are facing more charges. 

David Makynen and his boyfriend, Jeremiah Damsgaard, have been charged additionally with multiple counts of Lewd and Lascivious Battery on victim 12-16-years-old. 

Investigators originally arrested the pair for raping three adults males between the ages of 25-50.  

Makynen was hired by a Florida agency to act as their supported life coach. 

He spent the past 12 years working as a caretaker at various group homes around Manatee and Sarasota counties. 

“There is a high danger of abuse, so to me there needs to be a high level of supervision," said St. Petersburg attorney Mark Kamleiter, who specializes in special education law. 

The Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities is the state office that certifies support coaches. 

Agency officials tell ABC Action News, Makynen passed a Level 2 background check and completed the necessary training to care for adults with intellectual disabilities. 

According to APD, Makynen was serving 11 adults when he was arrested. 

"Doing background checks often will not uncover these kinds of issues and problems," said Kamleiter. 

Kamleiter stresses it's crucial that all agencies and programs overseeing the care of special needs adults keep a watchful eye on support coaches and their clients. 

"What about periodic interviews with the people being served to determine if there are any red flags," said Kamleiter. 

According to deputies, some of the victims lived with Makynen in a Bradenton duplex. 

Damsgaard reportedly lived in the house, too, but was never vetted by APD or any program that contracted Makynen's services.  That gave the pair easy access to take advantage of the vulnerable people Makynen was paid to care for. 

APD officials tell ABC Action News, caretakers are not allowed to live with clients. 

"The Agency for Persons with Disabilities has a zero tolerance policy of any form of abuse or exploitation of individuals with disabilities, and we hold our providers to the highest level of accountability," said APD spokesperson Melanie Etters. 

APD declined our request for an interview, but added they are working with all current and former clients to ensure they are taken care of.