The Unthinkable Is Happening In Nursing Homes Across The Country, Sexual Assault

March 1st, 2017

Across the country sexual assault is a rising epidemic in nursing homes and senior living facilities. In many cases, these elderly victims cannot speak for themselves, and may not even remember what happened due to dementia, Alzheimer’s and other medical conditions. Sometimes these acts are swept under the carpet by facility management and personnel. This is pure negligence at work.

There are many signs of abuse that family members can watch for, in an effort to recognize and work to keep your loved ones and family member as safe as possible. But this is a serious problem that is affecting our elderly community.

In 2014 at 4:30 a.m. one woman who was a resident at Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis woke to see her roommate being raped by her aide. Sonja Fischer’s story is just one of thousands that get reported each year. The man accused of sexual assault was sentenced to 8 years in prison, as he pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a mentally impaired or helpless victim.

Judge Elizabeth Cutter stated during the sentencing hearing “You violated a position of authority, a position of trust, the ramifications of what you did are so far-reaching. … It also affected everyone in that facility. Everyone who stays in that facility. Everyone who works at Walker Methodist Health Center. It affects everyone who has to place a loved one in a facility.”

Yet this wasn’t the first accusation about this employee at Walker Methodist Health Center, the first complaint was in 2008. The other cases like a majority of those reported were not found substantiated by the facility or the state, so it the employee was given a warning, and continued to work at the facility. And as a “punishment” to the employee, he was required to take a class on Abuse Training, but was still allowed to keep his job.

Read the full article here.

The federal government doesn’t specifically track all allegations of sexual abuse at elder care facilities, making it hard to compile an accurate number of cases reported of this horrific sexual elderly abuse.  A report conducted by CNN found that:

  • More than 16,000 complaints of elderly sexual abuse had been reported since 2000 in Nursing Home and Long-Term Care Facilities according to the Administration For Community Living.
  • CNN found that between 2013-2016 the federal government had cited over 1,000 nursing homes for the mishandling or failing to prevent these types of situations.
  • About 100 of these facilities were cited multiple times during the same period.

The reports found were sickening and involved allegations of forced intercourse, oral sex, digital penetration and other forms of sexual assault.

Many changes need to occur in order to protect the most vulnerable residents in facilities across the nation. CNN lists 5 things that need to change immediately:

  1. When you have a sexual assault claim it should be fully investigated under sexual assault.
  2. Keep as much evidence as possible. Don’t bathe or change clothing, sheets, etc. when one suspects sexual assault.
  3. Training on the signs of sexual abuse in all elder care facilities.
  4. The better staffed a facility is, the less likely sexual assault will occur.
  5. A reporting system needs to be put in place to keep track of cases that haven’t been substantiated.

If you or someone you love has been a victim of sexual assault in a nursing home or elder care facility, don’t be afraid to report it. If you are concerned about the treatment your loved one is receiving in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact Henson Fuerst, North Carolina Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer today at (919) 781-1107.

An experienced, and compassionate Henson Fuerst elder care abuse attorney will speak with you for free, and help you find answers. We are committed to protecting the rights of our elderly population.

We’ll Fight for Your Loved One