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Sexual abuse allegations blamed on nursing home neglect

Advocates for sexual assault victims tend to ignore one of the most vulnerable groups of victims -- the elderly. Nursing home neglect can result in deplorable living conditions and terrifying treatment by staff. California families usually place their loved ones in facilities that they believe will provide the best possible care, and they typically expect that abusive staff will be quickly and severely dealt with.

In March 2015, the administrator of an out-of-state residential nursing home facility was notified of a possible instance of sexual abuse. The alleged victim called the administrator directly to accuse the staff member of committing the act of molestation. In response to the allegations, the employee was moved to a different area of the residential facility and then told to stay away from the patient. Administrators never reported the possible crime to the authorities, a decision that they blamed on the patient's preference for privacy.

The employee apparently ignored the administrator's request to refrain from coming into contact with the patient and entered his or her room soon after to confront them. The patient also said that the employee used explicit language during that interaction. The staff member was not suspended until more than a month after the allegations were reported and was then fired two days after that.

That nursing home was recently cited for allowing the worker to continue working even after the sexual abuse allegations arose. While citations from California state officials can help residential facilities improve their practices and prevent harm to future residents, they cannot undo the past. When nursing home neglect causes serious physical or emotional harm, families often choose to take action and seek compensation on behalf of their loved ones.

Source: annistonstar.com, "Anniston nursing home cited for response to patient's sexual abuse claims", Daniel Gaddy, July 24, 2016

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