Articles Posted in Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes

sexual assault

Suit Filed Against State After Rape and Pregnancy of Incapacitated Woman

Lawyers for a young Arizona woman who was consistently raped and then impregnated by her nurse have filed a 54-page claim against the state seeking $45 million in damages. The 29-year-old woman was a patient and resident under the care of Hacienda Healthcare long-term care facility located in Phoenix. She has been nonverbal and intellectually disabled since the age of three after a drowning accident. Due to repeated sexual assault by a staff member, the woman became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy in December of 2018.  Shockingly, the claim also says the woman could have been pregnant before.

Hacienda Healthcare did publicly apologize for the incident and has promised to follow more robust hiring and training practices. The Arizona Department of Health Services has not yet released a comment regarding the case. 

Earlier this month, our blog covered the story of a 29 year-old-woman in a vegetative state who had given birth to a baby boy on December 29th. The woman is a longtime resident of Hacienda Healthcare just outside Phoenix, previously falsely reported as admitted to the facility after a near drowning incident as a teenager. Instead, the woman’s family has clarified that she is nonverbal and is intellectually disabled as a result of seizures that began as a toddler. Although she is nonverbal, she is able to move her extremities and head and neck, and can show emotion through facial expressions.

This morning, Phoenix police announced that they had arrested Nathan Sutherland, a 36-year-old male nurse who had been an employee of the facility and was responsible for providing nursing care to the victim. He has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse after he was found to be a DNA match to the infant boy. Police required genetic testing of every male employee of Hacienda after the victim gave birth and although Sutherland initially attempted to forgo testing, he was ultimately forced by police to cooperate.

Sutherland become a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) in 2011 and it appears that Hacienda has been his sole employer since becoming an LPN. Prior to receiving his nursing certification, he worked as a nurse aide for 6 years. Earlier today, Hacienda released a statement that Sutherland was immediately fired upon learning of the DNA match, also saying that Sutherland went through a background check prior to being hired. Hacienda has publicly apologized for the incident, promising to follow more robust hiring and training practices.

A 29-year-old woman in a vegetative state has given birth to a baby boy in a Phoenix-area nursing home. The woman, a confirmed member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has lived in a vegetative state since she was 15 and nearly drowned. The birth was a complete surprise to staff, not only because her condition makes her unable to consent or engage in sexual activity, but because they were completely unaware of her pregnancy until she went into labor.

Through their lawyer, the woman’s family released a statement, saying in part “The family is obviously outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda Healthcare.”

Facility Has Persistent Low Ratings, but Promises to Take Accountability for Rape

caregiver neglect

Caregiver Neglect and Abuse May Happen More Often During Holiday Season

With the National Center of Elder Abuse reporting as many as 5 million people affected by elder abuse per year, and more than 95 percent of which go unreported, it remains an understatement to say nursing home abuse and neglect are a growing concern. And during the busy holiday season, when there are not enough employees to take care of the needs of all the residents and care workers become easily distracted with personal activities, the incidences of abuse and neglect will sadly trend upward. It’s an important time of the year for family members and friends of those residing in long term care facilities to frequently check-in and visit with not only our loved ones but also those responsible for caring for them. Make a daily call or weekly stop this month to see that the quality of services is what you expect. Unfortunately, the result may be that many of our elderly relatives are living with care that is substandard and may even be coated with dangerous abuse and neglect symptoms. Recognize these signs provided by the Nursing Home Abuse Center and report any findings or concerns immediately.

Physical Abuse

abuse in hospitals

Uptown Chicago Psychiatric Hospital “Called Out” After Reports of Sexual Abuse and Neglect Involving Child Patients

Although not surprised, the entire legal team at Levin & Perconti has been cringing over the recent ProPublica Illinois investigation into Chicago Lakeshore Hospital, a private psychiatric facility located in the northside of the city. The initial ProPublica findings involve both claims of sexual abuse and related disruptions grown from the ongoing neglect of young patients in the hospital’s Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Program. The allegations are horrific to say the least. Even so, dozens of children have bravely stepped forward and shared their personal stories of being raped and sexually abused by staff and patients, while others have been physically assaulted. Many of the hospital’s hotline complaints in just the last few months were triggered from laxed staff who created scenes of abusive sexual activity (most forced), and inappropriate or violent altercations between children and teenage patients.

Federal inspection reports in 2018, show the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) has investigated 16 allegations of abuse and neglect, many sexual in nature, at the hospital between staff and child patients, and other hospital residents just this year. As the Chicago Tribune recently reported, some pending investigations include these sickening allegations:

A Special Focus Facility (SFF) is being sued by the family of Delores Green, an 84-year-old woman suffering from dementia, for allegedly failing to prevent her from being ‘repeatedly’ raped and sodomized.

The victim’s daughter, Vivian Colette Green, is suing Christian Care Home in Ferguson, Missouri for the alleged rapes after discovering her mother injuries just last month. A resident of the facility for nearly 8 years, the victim is unable to communicate, unable to walk, relies on a feeding tube, and is a diabetic. She was unable to tell her daughter what had taken place, but Vivian Green said she quickly realized that her mother had suffered sexual trauma due to the bruises and swelling on her body.

Upon discovering the injuries, Ms. Green immediately questioned staff at Christian Care Home but after feeling ignored and realizing the injuries were getting worse, she called the police. An emergency room physician conducted a rape examination, which includes a physical exam as well as a rape kit, and said her injuries were consistent with recent multiple rapes that had taken place over the course of several weeks. An investigation has identified a suspect, a fellow resident within Christian Care Home, but that suspect has not officially been named by police.

nursing home abuse

Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Allegations Are Slow to Be Investigated

Throughout the country and right here in Illinois, an already crippled group of elderly are being raped and sexually abused by the very people responsible for their daily care. It doesn’t matter if they are residents of low-income Medicaid funded homes or patients who pay ridiculous costs for daily living and care support staff, the victims are out there, yet little is being done to prevent or remedy the issue. In addition, for the victims or family members who report the allegations, identifying a perpetrator remains a challenge due to the very nature and mental state of most residents.

According to a CNN report, in Illinois, since 2013:

Genesis Healthcare, one of the largest nursing home groups in the country, is having a bad year.  This summer, the chain was ordered to pay $54 million to 5 whistleblowers who exposed fraudulent billing for keeping and treating patients who did not require hospice care.

Adding to the nursing home chain’s problems are criminal charges against a resident, with a concurrent civil case against the chain itself. In October of this year, 74 year old Francis Kinsey, a resident of Coventry Center Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation in Rhode Island, was arrested for sexually assaulting an 80 year old female resident. An employee witnessed the assault and immediately notified authorities. After the resident’s arrest, it was discovered that he had a 5 year old pending charge for sexual molestation and was currently out on bail. That case had not been furthered because his heath prevented further legal action. The family of the 80 year old resident who was sexually assaulted has sued Coventry Center and Genesis Healthcare, arguing that a resident with a pending criminal charges for a sexual offense should not be able to live freely alongside others, particularly the elderly and vulnerable.

On November 16th, a Rhode Island judge declared Kinsey not fit to stand trial for the recent sexual assault. Mr. Kinsey’s health has now prevented him from facing charges on two sexual offenses for which he has been formally charged by police.

Meadows Mennonite Retirement Community in Chenoa, Illinois, has been served with a lawsuit by the family of a deceased resident who was the victim of online photo shaming by an employee from the nursing home. The employee, believed to be Samantha Brown, was terminated when the facility was made aware that she, along with her then boyfriend, Michael Scurlock, had posted pictures of multiple residents in various states of undress while doing routine activities such as bathing, using the toilet, and sleeping. McLean County prosecutors are currently filing charges against the couple, after local police reviewed over 50,000 documents and records, including those from internet providers and Facebook. The graphic images were posted to Facebook earlier this year.

In March, the employee (identified in the lawsuit as Jane Doe but believed to be Samantha Brown, a former CNA) notified Meadows that the photos were posted online, including to the the nursing home’s own Facebook page. She told Meadows, IDPH, and police that she believed photos she and other Meadows employees had taken were stolen by her ex-boyfriend and shared online.

Nursing Home Failed to Report Illicit Photos to Authorities

A female resident at Frankfort Terrace Nursing Center in Frankfort, Illinois is suing the for-profit facility for allowing a known sexual harasser to continue to freely wander the building, despite previous knowledge of his tendency to harass women.

The victim says that in August 2015, the offender, Roger Martin, showed her his genitals and used slang terms to tell her he was going to have sex with her. The victim says that she notified Frankfort Terrace’s Director of Nursing, who made no mention of the incident in Mr. Martin’s chart, nor made any attempt to investigate the incident.  The lawsuit alleges that the lack of follow through by the facility is especially egregious, given that the facility was aware of Mr. Martin’s past sexual harassment of other female residents.

Illinois Department of Public Health Investigation

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