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
In May 2006, Illinois enacted legislation that required nursing homes to background check residents of all nursing facilities. However, the information found during a background check is not required to be shared with residents. While not unique to our state, Illinois houses sex offenders and other violent and non-violent criminals alongside elderly residents, a practice that has led to some horrific situations. In 2010, the Chicago Tribune reported that between 2007 and 2010, 86 cases of sexual assault were investigated in Chicago nursing homes and that almost all of the cases were resident to resident assault.
While there is not a current Illinois investigation into the number of sex offenders living in nursing homes, 2015 data from the Kaiser Family Foundation says that Illinois has roughly 29,000 more nursing homes than the state of Massachusetts (68,840 vs. 40,403 in MA). Based on sheer numbers, it would be safe to assume that Illinois likely houses more sex offenders in nursing homes than Massachusetts does. Illinois is also often-cited as housing a significantly higher number of residents with criminal pasts than long term care facilities in other states.
Many Sexual Assaults in Nursing Homes Go Unreported
For various reasons, sexual assaults are not always reported to authorities. The first is the victim’s hesitation to report the violation to family or staff out of embarrassment and fear of being alienated from their small community. The other is more troubling. Some of the violations are reported by the residents themselves or their loved ones and then are not taken to the police and department of public health, as required by law. Sexual assaults, rapes and harassment are all forms of negligence. There is a duty to supervise residents in all areas of nursing homes at all times.
If you suspect physical abuse of any kind has happened to your loved one, our nursing home abuse attorneys are here to help. We have compassionately and successfully represented victims of nursing home abuse for over 25 years and will fight for justice for your loved one.
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 attorneys. We will review your case and go over all of your legal options together in a free and confidential consultation. You will never pay any fees unless we successfully resolve your case, so contact us today to see if we can help.