Never Discount The Real Impact Of Sexual Abuse On The Disabled

The Real Impact Of Sexual Abuse On The DisabledConcerned about their daughter’s health, the family of Violet Townsend immediately sought medical care for the 29-year-old woman when they noticed blood on the seat of her wheelchair while visiting her at Grande Oaks Nursing Home (Ohio).  After receiving care at a nearby hospital, it was determined that Ms. Townsend’s injury was consistent with a sexual assault and tested positive for a STD.

What makes Ms. Townsend’s situation unique and her situation especially troubling is that a brain injury she sustained in 2006 has left her immobile and unable to communicate.

An investigation into the incident by both officials at Grande Oaks and with the Ohio Department of Health provided no insight as to how or why the incident may have occurred.

But, how can this be?

Tragically, physically and mentally impaired nursing home patients can be targets of abuse at the hands of other patients, residents or even visitors.  The biggest hurdle associated with the investigation and prosecution of these cases is typically the individuals inability to communicate the specifics regarding the incident or perpetrator.

Given this rather large hurdle, it is even more important for a timely investigation to be conducted so physical evidence can be examined and any relevant witnesses can be interviewed.

As a nursing home lawyer, I frequently find sexual abuse cases involving the disabled to be incredibly frustrating to present from the perspective of damages.  Too frequently, there is a perception that because a person cannot articulate the incident or how they have been impacted, there is an assumption that they have not been truly impacted.  Given these prejudices, many of these cases rely heavily on the testimony of family and experts to help relay the true impact on the person.

In the case of Violet Townsend, it seems as though those whom know her best can already tell a difference in behavior following this suspected incident.  According to her father, Michael Townsend,

She got to the point where you couldn’t even touch her and she would just shake. I couldn’t touch her. Nobody could touch her.

For laws related to Ohio nursing homes, look here.

Related Nursing Home Law Center LLC Blog Entries

As More Sex Offenders Make Their Way Into Nursing Homes, Are Facilities Exposing Themselves To Increased Liability?

Sheesshh!! Move Along, Nursing Homes Trying To Cover Up Incidents Involving Sexual Abuse

The Real Devastation Associated With Sex Abuse In Nursing Home Will Never Be Known As Most Acts Go Un-reported & Un-prosecuted

Sexual Assaults In Nursing Homes, Not Exactly A Pleasant Topic– But Is An Issue That Needs Attention

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Jonathan did a great job helping my family navigate through a lengthy lawsuit involving my grandmother's death in a nursing home. Through every step of the case, Jonathan kept my family informed of the progression of the case. Although our case eventually settled at a mediation, I really was impressed at how well prepared Jonathan was to take the case to trial. Lisa
After I read Jonathan’s Nursing Home Blog, I decided to hire him to look into my wife’s treatment at a local nursing home. Jonathan did a great job explaining the process and the laws that apply to nursing homes. I immediately felt at ease and was glad to have him on my side. Though the lawsuit process was at times frustrating, Jonathan reassured me, particularly at my deposition. I really felt like Jonathan cared about my wife’s best interests, and I think that came across to the lawyers for the nursing home. Eric