Nursing Home Sexual Assault Attorney in New Mexico
As shocking as it may seem, sexual assault is not uncommon in nursing homes. As reported by CNN, this issue is more widespread nationally than previously thought, and nursing homes are doing little to stop it. In a recent investigation, CNN found more than 1,000 nursing homes that had been cited for mishandling suspected cases of sexual abuse.
If you suspect your loved one has been a victim of sexual assault in a nursing home, call the Sorey Law Firm P.L.L.C. at (903) 212-2822 as soon as possible. We focus our practice on personal injury matters, including nursing home abuse in New Mexico. Our experienced legal team can take action to stop the abuse, and help you pursue the compensation you and your loved one deserve.
Sexual abuse in nursing homes consists of non-consensual sex in any form with a resident. The abuse includes any type of sexual contact with an elderly person who is unable to provide consent. Nursing home sexual assault may involve:
- Unwanted touching
- Coerced nudity
- Taking sexually explicit pictures or videos of a resident
- Taking photos of a resident who is not fully clothed.
As stated by the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, women and residents with dementia have the highest risk of being sexually abused in nursing homes, although all residents are vulnerable. Nearly two-thirds of people residing in nursing homes are women. Residents with dementia have impaired memory and communication skills, which makes them more susceptible to sexual abuse.
A sexual abuser in a nursing home can be anyone who has contact with residents. The abuser may include temporary or permanent nursing home staff, visitors to the facility, or even other residents. Some residents have dementia and other mental issues that could impact their behavior and result in resident-to-resident sexual aggression. Unfortunately, resident-to-resident sexual aggression is a common form of sexual abuse in nursing homes. Nursing home residents have the right to engage in consensual sex, but this right is dependent on both residents having the capacity to consent.
In the 1,000 cases of nursing homes cited by the federal government for mishandling or failing to prevent sexual abuse, at least 25% of the abuse was perpetrated by nurses, aides, and nursing home staff members. Only a small percentage of the cases of sexual abuse were committed by visitors or unknown assailants. Most citations involved sexual abuse committed by residents against other residents. However, the most serious allegations, including rape, digital penetration, and other forms of sexual assault, were made against caregivers and other nursing home workers.
If a nursing resident is being sexually assaulted or abused, there may be physical or emotional signs, which may include:
- Bruises on the breasts, genitals, or around the inner thighs
- Torn, stained, or bloodied underwear
- Difficulty sitting or walking that is new
- Unexplained genital infections or sexually transmitted diseases
- Vaginal or anal pain, irritation, or bleeding
- Extreme agitation
- Panic attacks or PTSD symptoms
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Sudden, unexplained changes in behavior
- Nightmares or disturbed sleep
- Fear or avoidance of a person or place
- Fear of being left alone in the dark
Although sexual assault and abuse are not limited to nursing home staff members, the facility may still be legally responsible when it occurs. Nursing homes have a legal duty to provide a safe environment for their residents, which includes freedom from sexual abuse. When they fail to do so, they may be held accountable in a court of law.
Long-term care facilities have a duty to protect their residents. They must exercise care when hiring staff members, perform background checks for a criminal record, and check sex offender registries to ensure their applicants are not disqualified from employment based on their prior actions. Nursing homes must also thoroughly investigate any allegations or suspicions of sexual assault and report them to state authorities within hours after the facility learns of the alleged incident.
If you suspect your loved one has been sexually assaulted in a nursing home, it is crucial that you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. We can investigate the incident and work with you to establish the necessary facts to hold the nursing home responsible for what happened to your elderly loved one. Our lead attorney, R. Daniel Sorey, has extensive experience in successfully handling personal injury matters.
- Our founding attorney has a master’s degree in business administration, which gives him an understanding of nursing home abuse cases from a corporate perspective, as well as a legal and medical perspective.
- We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you pay us no fees until we recover compensation for you.
- We offer a free consultation and will answer your questions, even if we do not take your case.
- More than 16,000 cases of sexual abuse in long-term care facilities have been reported since 2000, based on federal data housed by the Administration for Community Living.
- In an analysis of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services data, CNN found reports showing that 226 nursing homes were cited for failing to protect residents in instances for which sexual abuse was substantiated between 2010 and 2015.
- Approximately 60% of these cases resulted in fines totaling more than $9 million.
- Only 16 of the 226 nursing home facilities cited for failing to protect their residents from sexual abuse were permanently cut off from Medicare and Medicaid funding.
If your loved one has been sexually assaulted in a nursing home, it is essential that you take action now. Contact the Sorey Law Firm P.L.L.C. for an experienced nursing home sexual assault lawyer. We are dedicated advocates for injured people in New Mexico.
Don't wait to get help. Contact our Albuquerque Nursing Home Abuse lawyer to schedule a free consultation.
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