As the American population ages many people find themselves moving into care facilities when they are no longer able to manage their daily lives. Nursing and retirement homes offer individuals the opportunity to exercise varying levels of independence all while purportedly receiving specialized assistance in safe, controlled environments. Nursing and retirement homes are held to various safety standards and though many comply with such regulations problems do arise for some individuals who live in deceitful facilities.
A local news story discusses one very serious problem that occurred in an Illinois nursing home. A 25-year-old man was recently taken to trial for allegedly sexually assaulting a 92-year-old nursing home resident. The man was employed as a certified nursing assistant at the time of the alleged sexual assault and in the period of time between the alleged act and the trial, the victim of the assault died. The judge hearing the case ended up declaring a mistrial though prosecutors may choose to file new charges at a later date.
Some individuals, like the victim in this story, are completely dependent upon the care they receive from staff at their nursing home facilities. Many suffer from debilitating physical and mental ailments that make communication and mobility extreme challenges. Their incapacities can make them targets for unscrupulous care givers and can lead to serious cases of nursing home abuse.
Though the care giver in this story has escaped criminal punishment for the time being, this account raises interesting questions regarding how the legal system approaches cases of nursing home abuse. Criminal charges can be filed when prosecutors find sufficient evidence to make cases. However, civil lawsuits can also be pursued to compensate victims for the tangible and intangible losses they experience at the hands of nursing home employees.
Source: The Chicago Tribune, "Mistrial for man accused of nursing home sexual assault," Amanda Marrazzo, July 31, 2014