Articles Posted in Sex offenders and parolees in nursing homes

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Last year, several nurses at Lake Park Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Indian Trail, North Carolina walked in on nurse’s aide Douglas Steven Little sexually assaulting an elderly resident suffering from dementia. Little, a 10 year employee of Lake Park Nursing & Rehab, admitted to the assault and is now serving a 19 year prison sentence. After the news of Little’s crime broke, other Lake Park families began coming forward with similar allegations of rape and assault of their loved ones.

Repeat Offender

An affidavit by a former Lake Park Nursing & Rehab nurse states that in 2012, the facility was made aware of sexual assaults committed by Douglas Steven Little and covered them up from victim’s families. The affidavit was included as part of a lawsuit filed by the daughter of another alleged victim of Little’s. The woman’s daughter, Annette Foster, says her mother was a dementia resident who spent two years at Lake Park Nursing & Rehabilitation before her death. She says that after the news of Little broke, she began examining her mother’s medical records and coupled with the behaviors she observed in her mother before her death, she is certain that she was assaulted on multiple occasions and strongly believes it was by Douglas Steven Little. While her mother was still a patient, Foster knew something was amiss after her mother reported being raped on two separate occasions. She requested that only female staff members treat and visit with her mother and despite the request, she still saw Little wandering around the dementia unit.

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It is a growing concern as the population of elderly prison inmates continues to rise: What happens to inmates who require more care than an infirmary at a standard correctional facility can give? The cost of treating inmates in prison, at specialized psychiatric facilities and at local hospitals is making the cost of long term care an expense that states are having a hard time managing. Federal funding is not given to prison inmates treated at any of these locations.

Enter facilities like 60 West, a combined nursing home and correctional facility in Rocky Hill, Connecticut that has become the first nursing home of its kind to be granted funding from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Several states hoping to receive federal funds for similar facilities are clearly pleased with the news and experts hope that the success of 60 West will spur other nursing homes to adopt the mentality that the elderly all deserve compassionate and federally-covered care, regardless of a prison record. Receiving federal funding for state-owned nursing homes would significantly ease the burden of covering long term care costs for prison inmates.

Previous Denial Due to Health and Safety Issues

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We’d like to share insightful information from an April newsletter from the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA) regarding 5 major reasons to oppose the Protecting Access to Care Act, better known as H.R. 1215. The bill, due to be voted on at any moment by the House, has a sweet-sounding name that overrides the detrimental aftermath that will result if the policy becomes law.

ITLA’s newsletter contains information shared by the American Association for Justice (AAJ) and perfectly sums up why we as Americans should oppose the passage of a bill that will take away our civil rights.

Below are the top 5 reasons to oppose The Protecting Access to Care Act (H.R. 1215):

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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.

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In a March report by 7 News in Boston, an investigative team found at least 12 serious sex offenders living alongside elderly residents in Massachusetts nursing homes. The team cross referenced the addresses of nursing homes in the state with the addresses of registered sex offenders and found two Level 2 Offenders and ten Level 3 Offenders. Level 3 offenders are considered the worst kind in the state of Massachusetts.

In 2005, a registered child sex offender, John Enos, was living in a nursing home in Massachusetts, assumed to be harmless because his crimes were all committed in the 1980s against children. Enos raped his 90 year old roommate, a World War II veteran who never knew that the man living beside him was a sex offender. Although his roommate was unaware, nursing home administrators did know of Enos’ past offenses. 2 years after the crime, Massachusetts attempted to pass a law that denied nursing home residency to anyone convicted of being a Level 3 offender. The Supreme Court in that state overturned the law, saying it was unconstitutional. Massachusetts does not require background checks for residents of nursing homes and they are not required to post or make known the criminal past of any of its residents if such information is made available to them.

Illinois Nursing Home Legislation

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The perpetrator of a sexual assault at a nursing home was recently sentenced to jail time following a criminal trial for his conduct. Detroit News reported on the incident involving a 52-year old former nursing home employee at the MediLodge Nursing Home.

According to reports the former janitor pulled his pants down in front of an 84-year old Alzheimer’s patient in a wheelchair. Another nursing home employee saw the incident. Fortunately the co-worker contacted authorities, even though the janitor begged his co-worker not to tell anyone about the event. Later, the employee admitted that he forced the resident to inappropriately touch him. He had abused at least two other residents in a similar manner.

The sentencing judge explained that “this was a very disturbing crime.” The aggressor will have to serve four months in jail and will be on probation three years following his release. In addition he will have to pay the victims fees, court costs, and undergo sex offender treatment.

Unfortunately, shocking sexual abuse, like the incident here, occurs at nursing homes across the country. In many cases, the predators are not reported and more seniors are forced to live through the abuse silently. It is an continuing problem that is in dire need of solutions.
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According to a report on KOMU.com , one Missouri nursing home admits sex offenders but does not inform the families of the other elderly residents who reside there. There are currently 18 registered sex offenders that live at the nursing home, with sex offenses ranging from child molestation to rape. The owner notes that elderly residents are separated from the sex offenders and that staff is also trained on how to deal with those patients who have psychiatric issues and therefore management does not view this as a security threat. According to the report, there is no legal responsibility of the nursing home management to inform other residents and their families about the background of their residents, so the nursing home does not feel the need to disclose the information.

Sexual abuse in nursing homes is an important issue to address in Illinois nursing homes. Family members want to feel secure when placing a loved one in a nursing home. Elderly nursing home residents are targets of sexual predators because they are often weak and defenseless. They might have dementia or might not be able to speak to report the assault. All nursing home residents are protected from abuse and neglect under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act and homes have a duty to protect residents from predators. Many times, cases of sexual abuse fall at the hands of other residents, who are able to bypass security measures. In other instances, staff members are to blame. Nursing homes must operate with sufficient staff in order to properly monitor sexual offenders and elderly residents. Nursing homes must also investigate and report sexual abuse when it occurs. When a nursing home fails to protect the residents under its care and they are injured or killed, ownership and staff must be held responsible for their negligence. To learn more about the Illinois laws that protect nursing home residents from abuse and neglect, follow the link.

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MyWebtimes.com is reporting that a fourth lawsuit has been filed against LaSalle County Nursing Home for nursing home abuse. The nursing home sexual abuse lawsuit was brought on behalf of a 90-year-old former resident of the home and claims that she was sexually assaulted by a male resident at the facility. The suit claims that not only did this man sexually assault about a dozen residents; he also had a history of such abuse. The Illinois nursing home lawsuit is asking for $50,000 in damages for the nursing home abuse because the facility failed to protect the resident from the physical, mental and physiological injuries that she endured.

The nursing home lawsuit also states that the staff members at LaSalle County Nursing Home did nothing to protect the woman from the sexual abuse at the hands of her fellow resident. Recently, three top administrators at the nursing home have resigned and the suspect has been moved to a psychiatric facility. The Illinois nursing home has also been fined for their inaction. To read more about this nursing home lawsuit, please click the link.

This is a perfect example of how a lack of nursing home staffing can make it hard for direct care workers to provide both supervision and attention to each individual resident. Countless studies have shown that a lack in supervision can lead to serious problems with nursing home residents. These problems include injuries from falls, resident elopement and medication errors. Also, as seen in recent Illinois nursing homes, a lack of sufficient staff can lead to physical and sexual abuse amongst residents.

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The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the family of a disabled woman has filed a nursing home negligence lawsuit against the Fox River Pavilion nursing home in Aurora, Illinois. The lawsuit also includes a nursing home resident who is alleged to have sexually assaulted the disabled victim. The nursing home lawsuit alleges that the 39 year old aggressor sexually assaulted and beat the victim in his room at the Aurora nursing home. This patient had been arrested multiple times and is suffering from bipolar disorder. The nursing home lawsuit claims that the staff should have more closely monitored this aggressor and failed to treat his anti-social behavior. It describes the victim as “bruised, battered and bloodied.” The man is now being held in jail on eight counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault and battery. The Fox River Pavilion has been threatened by state and federal officials that their funding may be terminated.

This is a grave example of the violence that keeps occurring in Illinois nursing homes when older residents are mixed with those younger residents suffering from mental illness. Many times the nursing home staff does not have the proper training or resources to specifically care for the growing needs of the mentally ill population. Currently, the Illinois nursing home task force is working to create a better system for those people living in nursing homes with severe mental illness. If your loved one is experiencing difficulties at a mixed nursing home please consult a Chicago nursing home lawyer. To read more about this specific case, please click the link.

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As the Illinois Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog reported, Somerset Place nursing home on the north side of Chicago has received a number of IDPH violations for repeated acts of violence and nursing home abuse and neglect that have compromised the safety of its residents. The nursing home was also the subject of several articles in the Chicago Tribune that highlighted the nursing home’s problems and the Uptown community’s concern. On Friday, federal health care officials announced that they would cut funding for the troubled nursing home. This is the first time in four years that the federal government has cut funding for a nursing home in Chicago.

All of the nursing home’s 300 residents have a primary diagnosis of mental illness, and according to the Tribune 66 of these residents had criminal backgrounds. Staff members told the Tribune that insufficient staffing and training for direct care workers has created a chaotic environment where staff cannot properly supervise residents, many of whom need constant supervision. Without staffing and training, nursing home staff cannot properly supervise residents, and this leads to physical and sexual violence among residents.

According to the report, the Chicago nursing home will continue to receive Medicaid funding for 30 days, and the home has filed an emergency lawsuit to stop the CMS from pulling funding. The state health department will now look to move these residents to other Chicago nursing homes. Read full coverage of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service’s decision to cut funding for Somerset Place in Chicago.