A recent investigation has revealed shocking numbers of sexual abuse reports in nursing homes across the country. When you place your elderly loved one in a nursing home facility, it’s usually a last resort. An elderly parent or grandparent who requires around-the-clock care may not be able to safely live at home, or in the home of a child or grandchild. You take them to a nursing home to be cared for. To find out that your loved one is being neglected or abused, sometimes even enduring sexual abuse, is devastating. Although the vast majority of nursing home staff have residents’ best interests in mind, there are exceptions.
Vulnerability Can Make Elderly People Easy Targets for Sexual Abusers
As with young children, the elderly – especially when confined to a nursing home – can be quite vulnerable. This vulnerability makes them an easy target for predatory sexual abusers. The news outlet CNN recently analyzed state and federal data and interviewed experts and victims’ families to determine the severity of this problem. Just as disturbing as the abuse itself, was the study’s discovery that nursing homes and government officials overseeing these facilities often know about the abuse but ignore it.
The CNN report revealed that even when nursing homes took action, they were generally slow to investigate and report claims of abuse. Unfortunately, the same problems that make many of these victims an easy target for abuse – failing memories and confusion – also lead nursing home staff, and even law enforcement, to question the reliability of their accusations. A Boston nursing home abuse lawyer can help you determine how to take action following the abuse or neglect of a loved one.
At the 2015 sentencing of a nursing assistant who was convicted of raping an 83-year-old woman, the woman’s daughter, Maya Fischer made the following statement about her mother who had fled Indonesia as a child to escape rape and abuse by Japanese soldiers:
“At 83 years old, unable to speak, unable to fight back, she was even more vulnerable than she was as a little girl fleeing her homeland. In fact, she was as vulnerable as an infant when she was raped. The dignity which she always displayed during her life, which was already being assaulted so unrelentingly by Alzheimer’s disease, was dealt a final devastating blow by this man. The horrific irony is not lost upon me … that the very thing she feared most as a young girl fleeing her homeland happened to her in the final, most vulnerable days of her life.”
Eight Years of Abuse
The man convicted of raping this helpless victim, George Kpingbah, had previously been investigated over sexual assault allegations involving other victims. Prosecutors uncovered personnel records which show that he had been suspended three other times during sexual abuse investigations at the Walker Methodist facility. In two of those investigations, Kpingbah was the main suspect. Until he was actually caught in the act, he remained on the overnight shift for nearly eight years.
“Walker Methodist certainly failed to handle this appropriately with my mother and other residents, and there should be consequences,” said the son of another alleged victim after he learned of Kpingbah’s rape conviction. If an elderly loved one has been sexually abused, contact a MA nursing home abuse lawyer today.
Signs of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse
If you suspect that your loved one has been a victim of nursing home sexual abuse, report it immediately. Although abuse can occur without the following signs, these signs may be indicators that your loved one is a victim of sexual abuse:
- Unexplained blood on clothes or bed sheets.
- Bruising in the genital area.
- Ripped undergarments.
- Blood on undergarments.
- Bruising on inner thighs, breasts, and / or buttocks.
- Unexplained pain while sitting.
- Diagnosis of an STD or genital infection.