In a recent CNN investigation, two journalists detail their findings about sexual abuse of senior citizens while residing in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other residential institutions. While the investigation revealed no hard data about the incidence of sexual assault and abuse in nursing homes, the information found did make it clear that this type of abuse occurs far more frequently than one might think. Furthermore, the investigation also showed that nursing homes and government officials are doing little, if anything, to combat or even address this problem.
The reported incidents resulted in roadblocks for seniors and their families at every step of the process. All too often, seniors with poor memories or dementia could not properly give details about or even identify the perpetrators of sexual abuse, which makes it difficult to accurately report incidents to authorities or nursing home personnel. In turn, nursing homes are reluctant to investigate or even acknowledge that such an incident could have occurred. Law enforcement authorities also see the senior victims’ lack of clear statements and cloudy memories as detrimental and even fatal to the prosecution of these types of claims. Furthermore, the lack of a clear or reasonable system for reporting abuse has led to state regulators failing to take action against even serial rapists who prey on the elderly who are confined to nursing homes.
Even if an alleged rapist is eventually held responsible through the criminal justice system, the nursing home or other facility that employed the perpetrator is rarely found to have committed any violations or to be negligent in any way. For instance, in one situation, a nursing home was cleared of all wrongdoing after a male nursing assistant was found guilty of sexually abusing a resident, even after authorities learned that the man had been investigated for similar allegations in the past, but never removed from service.
We are the Wisconsin nursing home abuse lawyers whom you can turn to if you suspect or become aware of staff members’ abuse of your loved one while residing in a nursing home. Regardless of the complexity or difficulty of your situation, the Madison injury attorneys of Boller & Vaughan are prepared to advocate on behalf of your loved one and hold nursing home or other long-term care facilities responsible for any abuse that has occurred.