Sexual assaults are some of the most troubling acts of criminal conduct in our community. Our Illinois nursing home neglect lawyers know that these devastating acts are far too frequently committed against our most vulnerable community members in assisted care facilities. Nursing home sexual abuse often strike residents who are unable to explain to others what happened to them and unable to defend themselves against their attacker. In most cases the attackers turn out to be one of the very people who have been assigned to provide care to the individual. This represents the ultimately betrayal of trust and abuse of a position of power.
WKYC News reported late last week on a new investigation into this form of possible nursing home abuse. The victim is a 29-year old woman who has been on life-support since her involvement in a car accident six years ago. The woman was admitted to the nursing home following the 2006 accident where her car slid off the interstate and slammed into a guard rail causing the woman to suffer a massive head injury. Since that time the woman has been on life-support, is unable to talk, and is unable to properly account for her surroundings.
Not long ago the victim’s family was with her when they notice blood in the seat of her wheelchair. The woman was sent the hospital where officials eventually diagnosed her with a sexually transmitted disease. Obviously the victim is incapable at this time of consenting to any sexual acts, and so it remains unclear how she could have acquired a sexually transmitted disease. The most likely explanation is that the woman was the victim of a sexual assault. Police were called and are awaiting the results of a rape kit. The nursing home where the victim lived when the problem was discovered claims that it was not involved in the incident. However, the family believes that the rape must have occurred there, because the woman did not have the STD prior to her being admitted to the home.
The nursing facility conducted an internal investigation following the accident. However, they have not let the family view the results of the investigation, leading the family to suspect that something is being covered up. It remains unclear why the facility would not share the information with the family. The victim’s father explains that his daughter can still feel pain and often cries. He has noticed a clear deterioration of her condition as of late. He explains that she got to the point where she did not like to be touched by anyone, including her family. At one point she shook uncontrollably whenever another would touch her.
Our Illinois nursing home abuse lawyers at Levin & Perconti remain appalled by these acts against vulnerable residents. We are proud to work each day on behalf of victims like this and their families who suffer extreme mental and physical violations and are often specifically targeted because of their weakened state. Coming forward with these incidents and pressing for accountability is one of the main ways that steps are taken to prevent future abuse. If no one ever knows about the problems and wrongdoers are never held accountable, then there is rarely anything done to prevent future attacks. As a result more and more victims can mount. All nursing home resident advocates should ensure that awareness about these incidents is raise to demand accountability and corrective action.
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