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CNN Publishes Frightening Report on Sexual Assault in Nursing Homes

By Jack H. FarnbauchApril 19, 2017

Nursing homes are notorious for poor care and medical malpractice. There are a number of excuses that are proffered as to why nursing home care is subpar. High turnover at nursing homes, the difficulty of caring for the elderly, and understaffing are just a few examples. One unnerving aspect of nursing home care that is unacceptable on all levels is sexual assault in nursing homes. CNN investigated nursing home sexual abuses in a March 2017 expose. The piece started by going through the story of a patient that was raped by a nursing assistant at the Walker Methodist Health Center in Minneapolis. CNN spoke with the victim’s daughter, who caught the perpetrator in the act in December 2014. There were other victims who previously came forward and accused the nursing assistant of sexual assault but nothing was ever done about the abuse. The assistant plead guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a mentally impaired or helpless victim and was sentenced to eight years in prison.

The article also went over how difficult it is to estimate how common sexual assault is in nursing homes. As of now, there is no comprehensive, national data on how many cases of sexual abuse have been reported in facilities housing the elderly. CNN tried to gather all the data they could by surveying the health departments and other agencies that oversee long-term care facilities in all 50 states. However, the responses from state to state varied widely.

One of the states that did respond in earnest, Illinois, said that 386 allegations of sexual abuse of nursing home residents had been recorded since 2013. Of the 386, Illinois reported that 201 them which involved a caretaker. Of the 386 cases in Illinois, 59 were considered substantiated by evidence. However, Illinois is one of the only states to differentiate between sexual abuses for other abuses such as neglect.  Also, the federal government doesn't specifically track all sexual allegations either.

You can read the whole report here