Lawyer Resources for Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse and Assault in Nursing HomesOne of the most disturbing forms of abuse that affects thousands of nursing home patients every year is sexual abuse. One in three nursing homes are cited for abuse violations every year. A study from the Medicaid Fraud Reports indicates that about nine percent of abuse violations in nursing homes involve some form of sexual abuse every year. The sexual abuse of nursing home patient is particularly disturbing, because it typically impacts those who are most vulnerable and unable to do anything about it. Individuals in nursing homes, whether they are other residents or nursing home employees, tend to target those who are disabled, unable to speak and unable to physically defend themselves from the abuse. Both men and women can be the victims of sexual abuse in the nursing home context. If you suspect that a loved one has been the victim of sexual abuse in a nursing home, then it is vital to speak with a nursing home lawyer about your loved one’s legal rights today.

Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes: A Growing Societal Problem

As research studies continue to expose the harmful abuse patterns found in nursing homes, it is important for family members to continue to stand up for the rights of their loved ones. The first step that family members can take in protecting their loved ones is recognizing signs that a loved one is being sexually abused. Some of the signs that a loved one is the victim of sexual abuse in a nursing home are:
• The appearance of vaginal or rectal bleeding
• Presence of a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
• Pregnancy
• Embarrassment and humiliation
• Depression and anxiety
• Difficulty in sleeping
• Paranoia
• Resentment and anger
• Genital scarring or abrasions

Victims of sexual abuse also frequently show psychological and emotional reactions that are similar to rape trauma syndrome. Victims of sexual abuse may express denial or disbelief that the situation has actually occurred, and they may repeatedly deny that sexual abuse has occurred in speaking with family members. A victim should receive crisis counseling as soon as it is discovered that he or she may have been sexually abused. Family members may also decide to attend crisis counseling sessions with their loved one who has been the victim of sexual abuse. Counseling sessions will help a victim to regain his or her social skills and deal with effects like depression or anxiety.

Reporting Sexual Abuse to the Authorities

When a victim has suffered from sexual abuse, it is important for family members to ensure that a report is made to police authorities. Even though a nursing home may have its own internal policy for dealing with allegations of abuse, this does not prevent family members or a victim from being empowered to report such abuse to the proper authorities. A nursing home may attempt to stall the time period in which the abuse is reported to police authorities, but family members should see to it that this does not happen. A nursing home lawyer can also assist family members in reporting sexual abuse to the proper authorities.

Filing a Lawsuit Against Nursing Homes For the Sexual Assault of a Patient with the Assistance of a Top Elder Abuse Law Firm

Victims of sexual abuse often suffer from emotional scarring and physical injuries as a result of such abuse. They may be entitled to compensation for the harm that they have suffered. Nursing home lawyers are available to help stand up for the rights of your loved one in a court of law and prevent future sexual abuse of nursing home patient.

Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers has successfully prosecuted cases involving the sexual abuse, molestation and rape of patients in nursing homes, hospitals and long-term care facilities perpetrated by other residents, visitor or staff. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases and take every possible safeguard to minimize the impact on the victim. Our attorneys also appreciate the lengths facilities will go to in order to defend themselves against these horrific acts. As with all of our legal consultations, we invite you to speak to a lawyer with out cost or obligation in a completely confidential manner to determine how to proceed. Call us anytime (888) 424-5757

Sources:

  • http://www.nursinghomeinjurylaws.com/common-nursing-home-injuries/sexual-abuse
  • Robert A. Hawks, “Grandparent Molesting: Sexual Abuse of Elderly Nursing Home Residents and Its Prevention”
  • Elizabeth A. Capezuti, “Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes”

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Judge Rules on RapistMany sexual assault cases against the elderly go unreported, especially when the victim suffers medical conditions such as confusion, memory loss or difficulty in communicating. In many cases, the perpetrator tricks, coerces or manipulates the other victim to have undesired sexual contact.

Often times, cases of elder sexual abuse involve live-in nurses, nursing home assistance, family members and friends or other type of caregiver who is trusted to handle their health and hygiene requirements. Statistics from a 1998 National Elder Abuse Incident Study indicate that more than two thirds of cases involving sexual assault on the elderly happen within nursing facilities. Such is the case that happened in a Minnesota nursing home when a nursing eight sexually assaulted a female resident suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in December 2014.

Home Worker Charged with Sexual Assault

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Charges Against a NurseThe disabled and elderly patients in nursing homes often live lives at the mercy and kindness of their caregivers. Unfortunately, physical assault, sexual abuse and mental anguish are often common occurrences to many vulnerable residents at nursing facilities nationwide. One purported attack involved a 50-year-old “non-verbal” woman staying at a Bethlehem Pennsylvania ManorCare Rehabilitation Center who was an alleged victim of sexual assault by a caregiver.

Victim Unable to Consent

The incident allegedly involved 45-year-old Quakertown resident Robert Poindexter who has is facing charges of aggravated indecent assault against a woman noted to have “extremely limited movement.” The charges were filed after an extensive investigation that presented witnesses and testimony before a Lehigh County investigative grand jury. Court records indicate that the sexual assault against the victim reportedly by Poindexter occurred without her consent and that the woman would have been “unable to consent” due to her physical limitations.

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What Happens Behind Closed DoorsNursing homes are supposed to be a comfortable and safe haven for elderly individuals who are suffering from illnesses and require special medical attention. Families of the elderly people who reside in nursing homes want to be satisfied with the care their loved one is receiving and want the best for their elderly family members.

When a family member makes the difficult decision of admitting their elderly loved one into a nursing home, they want to feel content that they are making the best decision for them.

The Issues with Nursing Homes

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Sexual Abuse in Nursing HomesWhen we think about nursing home abuse, the first things that come to mind are incidents of neglect that lead to complications such as malnourishment, dehydration and bed sores. We don’t want to imagine the possibility that our loved ones could be the victims of assault or sexual abuse. The amount of incidents that are being reported that related to alleged sexual abuse in nursing homes is alarming, however, and despite our best efforts to deny it, sexual abuse is a growing problem in nursing homes.

High Rate of Incidents, Low Rate of Arrest

Between the years of 2007 and 2010, in Chicago, IL, there were eighty-six reported incidents that involved some form of sexual abuse. Of those eighty-six reports, only a single incident led to an arrest. More surprising was the fact that there were nine incidents that happened in nursing homes in Chicago that were never reported to the police and another incident which was reported months after the fact. Nursing homes are required by law to report cases of criminal sexual assault immediately.

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Rapes in Nursing HomesA transitional care facility and nursing home in West Chester received a brutal reminder that even those elderly patients who live in an elder care facility are not always safe. According to police, a rape reportedly happened between 9 and 11 PM. Despite the fact that neither the police nor the care facility would disclose the woman’s age, it is assumed that the woman was in fact a resident at the facility.

According to the vice president for marketing for the owner of the facility, there were re-conducted background checks for all the male caregivers and these male caregivers were removed from schedule on that particular floor for the day.

Remember that sexual elder abuse goes further

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Failing to Safeguard Patients is dangerous.When someone places a disabled or elderly family member into a nursing home, it is reasonable to expect that your loved ones be protected from physical and/or sexual abuse. While it is certainly not always an easy job, one of the most important responsibilities for a long-term care facility administrator is to ensure that his or her residents are protected from abuse and neglect. Most of the time this goes well, but other times negligent behavior can have devastating consequences.

The recent example of a facility failing to protect patients in Iowa

This is exactly what happened to the former administrator at the Pomeroy Care Center, Susan Juilfs. The former administrator was charged with unprofessional conduct after she proved to be unable to protect her facility residents from 84-year-old William Cubbage, a man with a long list of sexual assault charges.

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Sexual Abuse Incident in Nursing HomeSexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Sexual abuse is the worst kind of abuse elderly residents may be subjected to in nursing homes. While stories of physical and verbal abuse have been heard often, sexual abuse usually goes under the category of the ‘unspeakable.’ A number of grotesque acts come under the umbrella of sexual abuse, but the worst ones are those that involve manipulation of disabled patients who do not have a mind of their own to think and process whether the act is good or bad.

Taking advantage of such residents’ weaknesses is probably the worst show of behavior on the part of caregivers or fellow residents who are supposed to be supporting and nurturing to those under their hand.

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Evidence Of Sexual Assault In Nursing HomeMost instances of involving sexual assault of the elderly in nursing homes are tragic events that we’ll likely never hear a word about. It’s not that these horrors don’t take place with some frequency behind the closed doors of a senior care facility– it’s that many of the victims are particularly vulnerable and there is a tremendous amount of fear over the possible repercussion from both the perpetrator and the facility itself. Yet in other situations, the victim may be unable to communicate due to physical or cognitive difficulties.

As an attorney who has been called upon by families to assist in the investigation and prosecution of civil claims arising from sexual assaults in skilled nursing facilities, I am frequently frustrated by the inherent unfairness in these situations as too frequently facilities and perpetrators alike use their uneven bargaining position to their advantage and either attempt to bully or discredit the allegations made against them.

A female patient at a Texas nursing home who was sexually assaulted by a CNA at the facility could have easily become part of the group of the ignored, but thanks to her quick thinking the perpetrator will likely never have an opportunity to victimize other patients. The Brownwood Bulletin reported recently that police arrested the 45-year-old, male CNA after DNA evidence confirmed allegations originally suggested by and elderly patient at the facility. Anticipating that people would simply not believe her allegations, the woman— secretly preserved the man’s DNA sample on a napkin– during one of his escapades.

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Violent Patients at Nursing Home FacilitiesIn addition to conducting a background check on new patients, facilities must do a better job keeping tabs on existing patients who are simply to aggressive to violent to be housed at a facility with other frail people. Despite their grandfatherly (or grandmotherly) appearance, people with violent tendencies can be aggressive and cause harm to others– at any age.

Getting staff to recognize violence

Staff need to be tuned in to the fact that violence amongst the nursing home population is a real problem and just one person at a facility who acts inappropriately can cause serious harm to others around them. When staff see a patient who is verbally or physically aggressive, they need to bring such observations to their superiors.  Administrators need to then conduct an assessment to determine if indeed the facility is capable of caring for the individual and for ensuring the safety of other patients at the facility.

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Inclusion of Convicted Felons In Nursing HomeWhen searching for a nursing home for a loved one, many turn to statistics on how well the nursing home performs as far as reported complaints, yearly inspections and other data. While these numbers are helpful, they do not address who else may be staying in the home. Many convicted felons are also housed at nursing homes, and some states want to increase those numbers by releasing prison inmates into nursing homes for their care.

Saving Millions But At What Cost?

Connecticut has just passed a law allowing incapacitated prison inmates to be released into long-term care facilities. The governor’s budget office says this will save the state millions of dollars in healthcare that normally has been billed within the prison system. Medicare would now pick up these costs. They insist that these inmates will not be a danger to other patients at the long-term facilities due to their medical conditions.

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