Our office opens regular office hours during COVID-19 Emergency.

Articles Posted in Sexual Assault

Residents of San Diego County nursing homes can be harmed by many different types of nursing home abuse and neglect, from intentional physical or emotional abuse to passive neglect resulting from understaffing. While it may not be as prevalent as certain types of abuse in skilled nursing facilities, sexual abuse is a serious problem in Southern California nursing homes and in facilities across the country. Different parties can perpetrate sexual abuse in the nursing home setting, from staff members to other residents. Even in circumstances in which other residents perpetrate acts of sexual assault, the nursing home may still be liable for failing to prevent those injuries. A recent sexual abuse case in a Seal Beach nursing home underscores the prevalence of sexual abuse in skilled nursing facilities and the need to hold nursing homes accountable.

Learning More About the Recent Nursing Home Sexual Abuse Case in Southern California

According to a recent report from ABC News 7, an 85-year-old woman with dementia who is a resident of Seal Beach Health and Rehabilitation, a nursing home in Southern California, was sexually assaulted by another resident at the facility. Staff members at the nursing home called the police in early March 2022 when they “heard a woman screaming and pushed through the door blocked by the suspect’s wheelchair and found the suspect on top of her, on her bed,” according to the report. It also indicated that, when the staff members were able to get into the room, they found the resident “engaging in acts against her [the other resident] of a sexual nature.” That resident had a prior history of serious domestic violence for which he spent time in prison.

Nursing home abuse and neglect can take many different forms in San Diego County, from physical abuse to emotional or psychological abuse. While many families know the warning signs of physical abuse or passive neglect, such as restraint marks, bruises, or bedsores, knowledge about sexual abuse in the nursing home setting is less common. Yet a recent case in El Cajon serves as a warning about nursing home sexual abuse and the serious risks that seniors face. According to a recent report from KPBS News, a 73-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by a staff member at the El Cajon nursing home, and the nursing home failed to take the necessary steps to hold the staff member accountable. 

Nursing Assistant Sexually Abuses Elderly Patient

According to the report, the nursing home sexual abuse occurred at Avocado Post Acute nursing home in El Cajon, California. The 73-year-old patient who sustained the abuse described it as “one of the most horrifying experiences of her life.”

jyotirmoy-gupta-443923-unsplash-copy-300x200Nursing home abuse and neglect in Vista should be considered an important public health issue of concern to any resident of San Diego County, especially someone with an elderly loved one who resides in a nursing home. Yet common public perceptions about elder abuse often mean that people assume abuse either is physical or emotional, and that neglect also results only in physical or emotional harm. It is extremely important to recognize how sexual abuse and assault are also forms of nursing home abuse that can affect older adults, and understand how to protect a loved one from this form of abuse in a California nursing facility. 

According to a recent report from CNN Health, sexual abuse and assault happens more often than most people believe in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, and perpetrators can vary widely—from staff members to other residents of the facility.

Families Should be Aware of the Risk of Sexual Abuse and Assault in Long Term Care Facilities

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an elderly loved one in a nursing home in San Clemente or elsewhere in San Diego County, it is important to learn more about sexual abuse and how it affects seniors. Nursing home abuse and neglect often involves physical or mental abuse of the elderly, but it can also include sexual abuse. Sometimes perpetrators of sexual abuse in nursing home settings are staff members, while in some situations other residents themselves may be the perpetrators.

A recent article in Reuters emphasized that the #MeToo movement is having an important effect across the country: More victims are reporting incidents of sexual assault and sexual abuse. We would like to focus on how this larger societal shift in addressing sexual assault and abuse can influence victims of sexual abuse in the nursing home setting. We will consider recent discussions of elder sex abuse and then discuss methods of detection and prevention.

Turning Media Attention to Sexual Abuse in the Nursing Home Setting

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200If you have an older parent or other family member who resides in a nursing home in Poway or elsewhere in Southern California, it is important to understand the risks of nursing home abuse and neglect. In recent years, numerous studies have pointed out that many elder abuse cases involve perpetrators who are also residents of the facilities in which the injuries occur. In particular, cases of sexual abuse in the elderly can happen when one patient sexually assaults another patient. When do issues of consent and capacity arise in these kinds of nursing home abuse claims? Most frequently, as it turns out, when the victim suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Can such a patient ever give consent? In other words, can such a patient actually have the capacity to consent, or is any sexual act always one for which consent simply cannot be given?

This is a question that is currently at issue in California. According to an article in The Sacramento Bee, a 79-year-old woman at a California nursing home may have been sexually assaulted by another patient, a 70-year-old man also residing at the facility. Is there ever a gray area between consent and elder abuse?

Getting the Facts of the Recent Case

olia-gozha-179577-300x199If you have an elderly loved one who lives in a nursing home in Oceanside or elsewhere in Southern California, do you need to be concerned about the risks of nursing home sexual abuse? According to a recent report from CNN News, “vulnerable seniors are being raped and sexually abused by the very people paid to care for them.” Allegations of rape and sexual abuse are arising in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the country. Despite the fact that it is difficult to know precisely how many cases occur each year, the CNN News report suggests that “this little-discussed issue is more widespread than anyone would imagine.”

What are some of the significant findings in the report? What should you know about the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse in nursing homes?

Nursing Homes May be Negligent in Reporting Sexual Abuse and Assault

When most of us think about elder abuse or neglect, we tend to imagine horror stories about staff members getting into physical altercations with residents or failing to take care of patients in need. However, sexual assault can happen at nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, too. According to a recent article from the Marin Independent Journal, a female Greenbrae nursing home resident sued the facility for elder abuse after contending that she was sexually assaulted during her residency. Now, authorities with the California Department of Public Health are investigating the incident.

Nursing home abuse can take many forms, including sexual abuse. If you have concerns that your elderly loved one has been the target of elder abuse or neglect, you should seek advice from an experienced San Diego nursing home abuse lawyer.

Nursing-Home-Female-PatientDetails of the Greenbrae Sexual Assault

Law enforcement officers from the California Department of Justice arrested a San Jose nursing home employee on suspicion of elder abuse after it was learned the employee, according to new accounts, “yanked on the elderly man’s genitalia.” Two other employees were arrested for knowing about the abuse, and failing to report it. The three face misdemeanor charges of elder abuse and battery and failing to report.

According to a press release from the CDO, agents from the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse received a report about “sexual misconduct” at the Idylwood Care Center. The report came from the California Department of Public Health in January after it received a tip from an anonymous source that certified nursing assistant Arnold Sampson was witnessed grabbing the testicles of a male resident and making crude comments. A criminal investigation was then commenced.

The investigation revealed that Sampson had abuse the resident on other occasions, and had threatened to continue to touch him to “torment him.”

A spokesman for the nursing home issued a statement saying that, “Idylwood has always placed the highest priority on ensuring the most responsible level of care for our residents. We have cooperated fully with the attorney general in this investigation and will continue to do so.”

Continue reading

Heritage Rehabilitation Center in Long Beach has been sued for a sexual assault that occurred there just last month. According to the lawsuit, filed by James Morgan, the victim “Jane Doe” was suffered elder abuse and neglect when a man entered her room through an unlocked window and assaulted her. The suit also claims there may be other victims.

The suit alleges that the nursing facility was chronically understaffed. According to Morgan, “This was an active time of the day and there was nobody anywhere, which supports our theory they didn’t have enough staff in there to look after residents or see people coming in from the outside.”

Heritage Rehabilitation Center is a 161 bed facility that has been in operation for more than 35 years. It currently maintains a three star (out of five) on Medicare’s “Nursing Home Compare” website.

A former aide at a home for the disabled has been arrested and charged with molesting two female residents. Curtis Cortez, age 59, is being held on $100,000 bail after his arrest, and is expected to be charged with seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious actions by a caretaker upon a dependent person.

From news accounts, it appears the man has confessed his crimes to police, at least partially. When police confronted Curtis about the allegations, he offered a “Hawaiian defense.” He told authorities that he gave frequent hugs to people because it was part of his Hawaiian culture. He then volunteered that he was having problems with his girlfriend, and that he did touch one of the disabled woman’s breasts and genitals.

From a civil liability standpoint it is an interesting case. Curtis himself would obviously be liable for sexual assault and battery, but probably unable to pay a civil judgment. The question is, would the home be liable? Generally speaking, an employer is not liable for the intentional criminal acts of its employees, unless the acts were engendered by, or arose out, the employee’s duties. This one would be a close call.

Contact Information