A 50-year-old New York man has been charged with multiple felonies after authorities confirmed allegations that he sexually abused at least six disabled residents at a nursing home facility where he was employed. The charges were discussed in a recently published local news report, which stated that the man has been indicted on 33 felony charges based on the alleged abuse, which occurred over a six-month period in 2014 and 2015 at the nursing home where he was employed as a counselor to care for the residents.
According to a summary of the allegations that is contained in the article, the defendant was employed as a counselor at the nursing facility in upstate New York and began abusing the residents in July 2014. The man’s victims were six residents of the facility who had all previously suffered traumatic brain injuries and were initially unable to report the repeated acts of abuse, some of which allegedly occurred while the victims were asleep or incapacitated. The defendant is said to have used his position as a counselor and caretaker to gain access to the residents and forcibly perform sexual acts on them. If the man is convicted of all of the charges brought against him, he could face 10 years in prison.
Civil Liability for Nursing Home Abuse
The man discussed above will face criminal charges for his involvement in the abuses he allegedly conducted. Moreover, he could also face civil liability (meaning a case brought by one of the victims or their family members) based on the harm he has caused to the defenseless residents by his intolerable conduct. Although the news report does not discuss the role that other employees may have played in the alleged abuse, other staff as well as the nursing facility itself may also be liable for damages. In general, the operators of a nursing facility cannot be held accountable for the criminal acts of their employees that are performed outside the scope of their employment. However, if a repeated pattern of abuse becomes evident, and the organization does not take adequate steps to stop the abuse and notify the victims and their families, they may face civil liability as a result.
Nursing Facilities Occasionally Try to Cover Up Sexual Abuse Allegations
Since nursing homes commonly rely on state and federal funding to finance their operations, they can lose this funding if allegations like the ones above are substantiated. Therefore, it is not unheard of for the facilities’ owners and management staff to attempt to cover up instances of abuse or neglect.
Making matters even more difficult, nursing home residents often have limited mental and communication skills, and they may not have the ability or desire to notify loved ones or social workers of abuse that has occurred. Additionally, victims of nursing home abuse can pass away before the abuse is discovered, and the supervising staff may try to avoid having the victim’s family members discover that sexual abuse has occurred. In cases involving the intentional concealment of sexual or physical abuse in nursing homes, victims and their families may be entitled to additional damages in the event a nursing home abuse lawsuit is filed. State and federal laws that protect nursing home residents allow additional damages to be awarded if intentional or grossly negligent acts of abuse or neglect are discovered. Families of nursing home residents who suspect that nursing home abuse has occurred should contact a qualified nursing home abuse attorney to discuss their case.
Your Maryland Nursing Home Abuse Attorney
If you have knowledge or a suspicion that a family member has been sexually abused as a resident at a nursing home, your loved one deserves a full investigation and justice for what they have gone through. The experienced Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. nursing home abuse and nursing home negligence attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers can help you try to hold the responsible parties accountable for any type of abuse that has occurred. We may also be able to secure additional damages on your behalf if the allegations were covered up or ignored while the abuse was occurring. These cases are extremely serious and need a dedicated team of attorneys. At Lebowitz & Mzhen Personal Injury Lawyers, we accept clients in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the entire D.C. area in cases involving all types of nursing home abuse and neglect, including allegations of sexual abuse. Call us toll-free at 1-800-654-1949 or use our online form to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Nursing Home Arbitration Clauses May Punish Patients and Families For Expecting Quality Care, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 5, 2016.
Federal Government Expands Regulations to Protect Nursing Home Patients from Other Types of Abuse, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 19, 2016.