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Iowa Supreme Court Rules State Not Responsible for Nursing Home Rape of 95 Year Old Woman

The daughters of a now deceased 95 year old woman filed a lawsuit against the state of Iowa and the nursing home of which she was a resident during a sexual assault committed by a fellow resident, a violent sex offender. A lower state court ruled that the state was not liable and the Iowa Supreme Court upheld that decision earlier this month. Despite the court’s ruling, the daughters of the victim are still pursuing the lawsuit with the nursing home now named as the sole defendant.

What is the State’s Duty to Society After Inmates are Released?
William Cubbage was convicted of four violent sex crimes against children between 1989 and 2000. He served time for his offenses and upon his release in 2002 was sent to a state-run institution that focused on rehabilitation of sex offenders. After 8 years he was released from state custody and admitted to Pomeroy Care Center, a private nursing home in Iowa. In less than a year at the center, a child visiting a family member saw Cubbage assaulting the woman. The victim’s daughters sued the nursing home and named the state of Iowa as a defendant, arguing that the state should not have allowed Mr. Cubbage, a man with an extremely violent past, to be admitted into a nursing home amongst vulnerable elderly residents. Attorneys for the state argued that once Cubbage’s prison sentence and court ordered rehabilitation was completed, they had no responsibility for him.

According to the lower court and the Iowa Supreme Court, states do not have a duty to monitor past prisoners once they have been released from state custody of any kind.

The only good news for the family of the victim is that they are still able to pursue action against Pomeroy Care Center. According to the lawsuit, the nursing home knew that Cubbage was a violent sex offender and did nothing to protect its residents from him. They also engaged in a coverup of his offenses, threatening employees that knew of his past that they would be fired if they said anything to anyone.

As for William Cubbage, he was transferred from Pomeroy to a state-run mental hospital in Independence, IA and is facing charges for inappropriate touching of an employee’s genital area last year.

What to Do If You Suspect Abuse of a Loved One in a Nursing Home
Nursing home residents are unfortunately at risk for physical, emotional and sexual assaults. Ill-intentioned staff and fellow residents take advantage of lack of supervision and even the inability for residents to speak up regarding abuse and maltreatment. A loved one’s physical condition can reveal warning signs of nursing home abuse. These signs include unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, and broken bones. If you believe that a relative has been physically or sexually abused by a nursing home employee, or by a fellow nursing home resident, it is crucial to take action immediately. Report the abuse to the Illinois Department of Public Health and remove the resident from the home as soon as possible.

Then call our injury attorneys who have successfully represented victims of nursing home abuse for over 25 years and can help you seek justice for your loved one. Taking action against abusive staff and negligent nursing homes sends a strong message that these actions will not be tolerated.

Complete our free online case evaluation form, or call us at 877-374-1417 or 312-332-2872 to speak with one of our experienced nursing home lawyers. We are happy to discuss your potential case with you and go over all of your legal options in a free and confidential consultation. You will never pay any fees unless we successfully resolve your case, so contact us today to learn more.