Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

Sexual Abuse in a Nursing HomeIt is the most uncomfortable possible topic relating to abuse that can take place in Ohio nursing homes. But the fact is that nursing home residents—old, young, male or female, can be subject to sexual abuse.

Because many people in nursing homes, hospital and assisted living facilities are in a weakened physical or emotional condition, they are particularly vulnerable to aggressive sexual acts by other residents, visitors or even staff.

If that horrible event occurs, you or your loved one need to seek out not only medical and police care, but the advice of attorneys who are equipped to deal with these traumatic events. It is vitally important to stop this activity as soon as you or anyone suspects that this abuse is occurring to any loved one. A frank discussion of this issue with an attorney can begin the road to physical and psychological recovery, and potential criminal and civil legal action.

The underlying statistics of nursing home sexual abuse are appalling, but the follow-up within the criminal system can be seen as being, itself, criminal. In a 2010 evaluation of the sex abuse complaints made to the Ohio Department of Health, the regulatory agency for nursing homes, just a handful of the 324 complaints made regarding rape and sexual abuse of patients in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities resulted in a conviction. (See Channel 3 report here: http://www.wkyc.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=135756).

The problem is not just in Ohio nursing homes, it’s national. A recent study showed that one-third of Chicago nursing homes, for instance, experienced at least one case of sexual abuse between 2007 and 2010, totaling nearly 100 for that time frame. But, in a part of a broader nationwide pattern, only one criminal case was brought against anyone accused of sexual abuse in a nursing home. There may be numerous reasons for this. For instance, in a 2008 attack in a Portage County, Ohio nursing home, the alleged 85-year-old attacker was found incompetent to stand trial.

Many cases of sexual abuse never get reported to authorities due to social stigma with the issue.  Nevertheless, research consistently tells us that those who seek medical and psychological help after a traumatic event, such as sexual abuse, event position themselves for the best long-term recovery.

In the case of mentally and physically disabled patients whom have been sexually traumatized, specialized treatment may be necessary with the psychological and therapeutic professionals who are able to recognize the symptoms of sexual trauma.

Sexual abuse and assault cases during an admission to a nursing home or hospital, may expose the facility to liability for the act based on their failure to:

  • Monitor patients
  • Conduct pre-employment screening of staff
  • Conduct criminal and sexual predator screening of new patients
  • Allowing visitors unrestricted access to the other patients
  • Failing to keep violent patients away from more vulnerable ones

We have the ability and experience to represent victims of sexual abuse against individual facilities, national corporations and state agencies in the following situations:

  • Rape
  • Sodomy
  • Sexual assault
  • Clergy abuse
  • Sexual abuse of children, senior and disabled
  • Molestation

Again, it is incumbent upon anyone with any knowledge of nursing home sexual abuse to contact an attorney immediately to begin the process of both healing the victim, and engaging the appropriate legal and medical systems.

To learn more or to discuss sexual abuse at an Ohio nursing home, please call us at 1-800-297-9191 for a free consultation.

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