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Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes Seldom Reported

The treatment suffered by a 101-year-old South Carolina man at the hands of a nursing home aide could be described as nothing short of torture. brokenglasses.jpg

As our Broward nursing home abuse attorneys understand it, the elderly man was sexually assaulted, beaten and and screamed at. A hidden camera, installed by a private investigator hired by the man’s family, captured the stunning behavior on film.

Sexual abuse in nursing homes is not something we want to think about. It is a crime, and yet it is severely under-reported for several reasons.

The first of which is that it can be incredibly uncomfortable for the victim to come forward and discuss it with their family. As with any sexual abuse scenario, the victim may feel some level of responsibility for what is happening to them. Alternatively, because these victims may be fully dependent on their abuser to meet their other needs, they may be terrified of what will happen if they do speak up.

Secondly, the victim may not be able to report what’s going on, either due to a dementia-related illness or because they are unable to communicate. It’s very likely they’re abuser knows this as well, which may have been part of the reason he or she was targeted.

And lastly, there is the fear they won’t be believed. In fact, in this case out of South Carolina, the granddaughter of the victim said when her grandfather first told her what was happening several months ago, she didn’t want to believe it was true. He reportedly told her the male aide had poured detergent into his eye, which was indeed reddened. He further described being sexually assaulted by the aide.

His granddaughter recorded their difficult discussions, and then confronted the staff. However, they assured her nothing of the sort was happening. Her grandfather was confused, they said.

Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was very wrong. So she hired a private investigator, who had the camera installed. What those tapes revealed made them ill. A male aide is seen in the middle of the night pulling back the curtain. He grabs the man and shakes him. Then he begins kissing him. The old man grabs a glass of water, and dumps it on the aide. The frail victim, who is confined to his bed, grabs an electric razor and then a phone, in a desperate attempt to defend himself.

The aide is then heard taunting the man.

Armed with these recordings, the family went to police, and the aide has since been arrested. His granddaughter intends to file a civil lawsuit.

Cases like this may seem sensational, but they’re not rare. Consider within days of this report, a nursing home worker in New York was also arrested for sexually assaulting an 80-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease. This was only discovered when another staffer at the nursing home walked in on the two naked in a closet. Police in that case are exploring the possibility that there may be many more victims.

Because such abuse can be difficult or impossible for victims to discuss, it’s often up to family members to be vigilant in watching for the warning signs. Some telltale indications include:

–Bruising around the thighs, buttocks, breasts and genital area;
–Venereal disease or vaginal infection;
–Vaginal or anal bleeding;
–Underwear or sheets that are torn or bloodstained;
–Avoidance or fear of a certain staff member;
–Unexplained difficulty while sitting or walking.

If you suspect your loved one is being sexually abused in a nursing home, do not hesitate to call our Stuart nursing home attorneys right away.

Freeman, Mallard, Sharp & Gonzalez — 1-800-561-7777 for a free appointment to discuss your rights.

Additional Resources:
Attorney: ‘Disturbing’ video shows abuse of 101-year-old man at Mount Pleasant facility, Dec. 12, 2012, By Andrew Knapp, The Post and Courier

More Blog Entries:
Nursing Home Abuse Case Leads to Charges Against Director, Dec. 5, 2012, Stuart Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog

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