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Registered Sex Offender Attacks Fellow Resident in Iowa Nursing Home

iowaA registered sex offender living at an Iowa nursing home is now under extremely strict watch, after an eight-year-old girl witnessed him sexually assaulting a female resident.

The attack took place on August 21 at the Pomeroy Care Center in Pomeroy. The girl, who was visiting relatives, says she witnessed 83-year-old William Cubbage standing over a woman’s bed with his hands between the woman’s legs. According to state Health Department records, the woman was consistently saying “No!” After the attack, the woman was in tears, and begged a staff member not to leave her alone.

Cubbage has a history long history of predatory behavior at Pomeroy. Along with routinely swearing at staff members, Cubbage has also been seen staring into the rooms of female residents, winking at women during meals, and harassing visiting children.

This story calls to mind the difficult question of where to place elderly registered sex offenders, once prisons become too full. Though Iowa law forbids sex offenders from working in a care facility, there are no laws preventing them from living side-by-side among Iowa’s most vulnerable populations. And, as we’ve learned from other appalling stories we’ve recently discussed, sex offenders rarely change their ways.

“The idea that sex offenders can be placed in long-term care facilities…with no notification of the family members or residents in that facility, is simply wrong,” said a spokesperson for Gov. Terry Branstad. Branstad should know. In April, he cut the number of Iowa nursing home inspectors by 25 percent – leaving just 28 inspectors to investigate the state’s 442 facilities. That’s one inspector for every 1,071 nursing home residents in Iowa.

Given those figures, it’s no surprise that Cubbage somehow slipped through the cracks. According to the Des Moines Register, state officials knew Cubbage would be a “ ‘menace,’ likely to commit sexually violent offenses” when he was admitted to Pomeroy in 2010. The district judge who approved Cubbage’s removal from the state-run Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders simply said he “did the best that he could” based on the information he “had in front of him.”

Clearly, the “best that he could” wasn’t close to being enough.

Resources:

Where Will Criminals Go When They Need Skilled Nursing Care? Oct. 19, 2011 Nursing Homes Abuse Blog

Official Pomeroy Care Center Citation Nov 12, 2011 Des Moines Register

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