Former Nursing Home Staffer Sentenced in Sex Abuse Case

A former staffer at a nursing home in Barboursville, West Virginia was sentenced to one to three years in jail, including time served, after pleading guilty to the offense of attempting to commit a felony. Darren Canada, a 41 year-old Huntington resident, could be released within a few months because of time already served during the case. His jail sentence could be even shorter with credit for good behavior. The original indictment, issued in September 2010, charged Canada with second-degree sexual abuse and abuse or neglect of an incapacitated adult. He entered a guilty plea to the lesser offense in late 2011.

Canada worked at the Chateau Grove Senior Living Facility. In January 2010, another employee reportedly caught Canada attempting to sexually assault an 81 year-old female resident. According to the criminal complaint, Canada fled the facility by jumping out a window. Authorities say that he later confessed to the crime. His victim has since died.

The jail sentence imposed by the judge is the maximum allowed by West Virginia state law. The previous felony charges could have carried much more serious penalties. The prosecutor said that the sentence was “in the best interest of justice” based on the available evidence. The nursing home reportedly cooperated fully with law enforcement during the investigation of the case, earning the praise of the county sheriff. A relative of the victim spoke to the media about the sentence on her behalf.

Cases such as this present certain difficulties for law enforcement. Victims often cannot speak out for themselves due to physical frailty or mental difficulties. They may not remember important details or may not be able to communicate effectively. They may suffer further incapacitation or even die before a case can be adjudicated, making convictions much harder to obtain. Unfortunately this gives quite an advantage to perpetrators. The nursing home appears to have acted admirably in this case in cooperating with authorities.

Sexual assault against nursing home residents is a serious crime, an affront to the basic rights of residents, and quite simply a morally abhorrent act. Maryland law defines a “sexual offense in the second degree” in part as a sexual act where the victim is a “physically helpless individual, and the person performing the sexual act knows or reasonably should know that the victim is a…physically helpless individual.” This is a felony with a possible prison sentence up to twenty years. People who abuse or neglect a resident in this manner, in addition to criminal liability, may also be liable for the resident’s injuries. The nursing home who employs such a person may also be liable to the resident for breaching its duty to protect and care for its residents.

Nursing homes have a duty to provide diligent care and a safe environment for their residents. The Maryland nursing home lawyers at Lebowitz and Mzhen help obtain compensation for people injured due to abuse or neglect by nursing home staff. Contact us today online or at (800) 654-1949 for a free and confidential consultation.

More Blog Posts:

Proposed Bill Would Require Notification of Nursing Home Residents on Sex Offender Registry, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, January 9, 2012
Nursing Home Abuse Leads to Fines, Lawsuits in Michigan, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, December 27, 2011
Nursing Home Aide Pleads Guilty to Seven Counts of Abuse After Hidden Camera Catches Her, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, December 14, 2011

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