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National News Organization Investigates Nursing Home Assault

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By Jessica Surber, Attorney
English, Lucas, Priest and Owsley, LLP

News stories about abuse and neglect in nursing homes are become more and more common – as are civil lawsuits and criminal prosecutions involving nursing homes and nursing home employees.

Recently, a high-profile national news organization investigated the topic, paying particular attention to the topic of sexual assault of the frail and elderly who typically populate assisted living centers, long-term care facilities, and nursing homes.

A Widespread Problem 

According to the report, the problem of sexual abuse and rape in the context of American nursing homes is “more widespread than anyone would imagine.” The report also indicates that government  officials are doing almost nothing to stop the problem and that, in some cases, negligence is a considerable part of the problem.

While acknowledging the challenges of protecting victims who sometimes can’t remember the details of an assault or identify the perpetrator of a rape, the report found that there were “systemic failures” at play that made it easier for perpetrators of crimes against the elderly to get away with their evil deeds than when similar crimes are committed against those who can remember details and identify suspects.

The relative frailty and weakness of elderly sex crime victims adds to the problem. In the report, the rape of an 83-year-old Alzheimer’s patient at 4:30 a.m. was described. Ironically, as a young girl, the woman had allegedly fled her war-torn homeland to avoid the likelihood of being raped by an enemy soldier. Here, in America, at the age of 83, she was subjected to that which she feared enough to leave her native country in her youth.

Although the alleged perpetrator of the crime – a 76-year-old aide at the nursing home in which the victim was confined – was convicted of third-degree criminal sexual conduct and sentenced to prison, this did little to atone for his crime against the elderly victim.

Previous Suspicions

The report also indicated that there were signs that the perpetrator of the crime may have been involved in other assaults for which he was never prosecuted. Although he was apparently suspended by the nursing home as a result of one of the attacks, he spent several more years working the overnight shift.

In an unusual settlement of a civil case filed by the victim’s family, the perpetrator agreed to pay a large judgment – but only if he abuses again.

Talk to a Reliable Kentucky Nursing Home Attorney

Any type of sexual abuse can result in long-term physical and emotional harm for a victim, but this is especially true when the victim is an elderly and vulnerable nursing home resident. If you suspect that a loved one may have been a victim of rape or other improper sexual conduct in a nursing home, our experienced Kentucky nursing home negligence attorneys can help you determine whether it would be appropriate to file suit against the nursing home or another party, seeking compensation for the harm to your family member. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at (270) 781-6500.

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