Indiana Lawyers for Victims of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
Media reports often highlight instances of childhood sexual abuse. However, another vulnerable demographic, the elderly – particularly those who live in nursing homes and assisted living facilities – are also at risk of becoming victims of sexual abuse. Elder sexual abuse is defined similarly to childhood sexual abuse. Sexual contact, exposing of oneself, sharing obscene images, or taking inappropriate photos or videos of an elder without their consent are all forms of sexual abuse.
A number of factors can contribute to abuse in nursing home and assisted living facilities. Corporate business decisions and negligence, like failure to properly supervise staff or residents, failure to have an appropriate number of staff members per shift, and failure to conduct proper background checks on facility staff and caregivers, can create an environment where sexual abuse can occur. When these conditions exist, your loved ones are at a greater risk for injury including sexual abuse.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Elder victims of sexual abuse may show signs including bruising around the genital area, sexually-transmitted diseases, signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social or emotional withdrawal from others, panic attacks and more. Family members may be hesitant to make accusations or follow up on comments made by an elderly person who suffers from dementia. However, it is important to ask questions and investigate if a facility resident says something out of the ordinary.
If you or a family member suspects that a loved one who resides in a nursing home or assisted living facility has been the victim of sexual abuse, it is important to take steps to determine if an assault did take place and get the proper treatment for your loved one. The trauma of sexual abuse can be substantial regardless of the age of the victim. It is important that all victims of sexual abuse have access to treatment and psychiatric therapy to help them deal with the impact of the trauma.
Summary of an elder sexual abuse claim
A resident at an Indianapolis area nursing home was repeatedly sexually abused by an employee of the facility. The employee was not responsible for the care of the resident, yet they were able to access the resident’s room due to the negligent staffing and supervision of the facility. A family member noticed their loved one was becoming more withdrawn and fearful with each visit and asked questions. It was discovered that the resident had been sexually assaulted numerous times. The family sought help through a licensed mental health professional and hired Cohen & Malad, LLP attorneys to bring a civil lawsuit against the facility and the employee. The pending lawsuit is seeking compensation for the victim to get treatment for the trauma inflicted on them and hold the facility accountable for failing to ensure the safety of its residents.
In another instance, a Cohen & Malad, LLP attorney represented an elderly victim of sexual abuse perpetrated by another facility resident. Resident-on-resident abuse occurs and can often be brushed aside as a consensual act. However, for many reasons, some elderly nursing home residents may not have the capacity to consent and any sexual act constitutes sexual abuse. Facility staff are responsible for supervising and protecting residents from unwanted sexual contact. In this instance, our attorney was able to get the victim the compensation required to facilitate ongoing psychological and medical treatment to cope with the damaging effects of this assault.
Recent Reports of Nursing Home Sex Abuse
Hacienda Healthcare Facility Will Now Stay Open After Pregnancy of Disabled Woman Reported- CNN, February 8, 2019
One day after deciding to close its facility, Hacienda Healthcare announced that it struck a deal with Arizona state officials to keep the facility open to continue to serve intellectually disabled patients. In December, Hacienda Healthcare was at the center of an investigation of sexual abuse after a 29-year old severely incapacitated patient gave birth. Authorities conducted an investigation which included the collection of DNA evidence of men who worked at the facility and found a match. Police arrested a 36-year old nurse whose results “matched the baby” according to crime lab technicians.
Hacienda Healthcare stated that it made changes after the alleged sexual assault and will now work with state agencies to put together a “voluntary regulatory agreement with strong oversight and accountability measures that ensure safety and quality of care going forward for patients.”
A nurse is accused of impregnating a woman in a vegetative state who later gave birth – CNN, January 24, 2019
A Phoenix health care facility reported a woman who was in their care and diagnosed to be in a vegetative state gave birth to a baby in December. According to reports, no one at the facility was even aware that the woman was pregnant. The woman was 29 years old and has been a resident of the facility for over 20 years due. She has significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures early in her childhood.
Authorities conducted an investigation after the report of the birth and obtained search warrants and court orders to collect DNA evidence from men who worked at the facility. Police arrested a 36-year-old nurse based on DNA results that “matched the baby” according to crime lab technicians. The nurse is being held in Maricopa County Jail awaiting his hearing.
Hacienda HealthCare to Close After Disabled Arizona Woman Was Impregnated- CNN, February 7, 2019
The Phoenix health care facility where a woman under their care gave birth in December is set to cease operations. This decision comes after authorities arrested a nurse, employed by the facility, after DNA evidence indicated that he was likely the father of the child. Caregivers at the facility claim they had no idea the 29-year-old woman was pregnant. The woman had been a resident of the facility for most of her life after suffering significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures during childhood.
The facility voted last week to close and is working on a transition plan for the 37 patients who are currently under care.
Lawsuit Filed Against Facility after Disabled Florida Woman Becomes Pregnant- CNN, January 2019
A Florida woman is suing her daughter’s former healthcare provider as well as a few of its employees. The mother alleges that her 23-year-old daughter who is developmentally disabled was raped, impregnated and injured while in the care of Pensacola Cluster intermediate care facility.
Court records state employees of a school the 23-year-old attended observed behavioral changes and physical injuries which included bruising on her hip. School employees reported the injuries to the healthcare facility and made several attempts to ensure the woman was treated for her injuries. After the third contact, Pensacola Cluster ordered an x-ray and discovered the woman suffered a broken hip. During a pre-surgery exam, medical authorities discovered that they woman was pregnant. At some point during the pregnancy, the woman did suffer a miscarriage.
Other Types Of Sexual Abuse Cases We Handle
We are proud to help families heal through the legal pursuit of sexual abuse claims. Here are a few more specific examples of cases we’ve handled.
- Adult on child sexual abuse
- Daycare sexual abuse
- Child-on-child sexual abuse
- Church sexual abuse
- Doctor on patient sexual abuse
- Residential treatment center sexual abuse
- School or sports organization sexual abuse
Indiana Sexual Abuse Lawyers
If you, your loved one, or someone else you know is a victim of sexual abuse or assault, contact us. Our attorneys have been trained by mental health professionals so as to not revictimize the Plaintiff when telling his or her story. Our attorneys have experience handling sexual abuse claims against residential facilities including nursing homes and assisted living facilities and can help your family on the path to healing. We understand the sensitive nature of this type of lawsuit and prioritize our clients’ privacy and trust while fighting to get them the compensation they need to assist them in healing and coping with sexual abuse.