A Bronx certified nurse aide was recently arrested and accepted a plea deal for sexually assaulting one of his patients in a case that highlights the growing problem of sexual abuse in nursing homes. The New York Daily News reports that the 42-year-old male nurse sexually abused his 64-year-old female dementia patient while she was under his care. He faced a second-degree rape charge for sexual assault and a charge for endangering the welfare of an elderly person. Had the man been convicted, he would have spent up to four years in prison. However, after accepting a plea deal, he will spend six months in prison, be stripped of his nursing license and his name will be put on the state sex offender registry.
Sexual assault and abuse of the elderly within nursing homes is an ongoing problem throughout the nation. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, out of all incidents reported using the National Ombudsman Reporting System, seven percent are due wholly or in part to sexual abuse. If a resident is subjected to any kind of unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact, or is forced or coerced into watching sexual acts, that resident may have been sexually abused. Other residents and the workers who are in charge of seeing to the care of these patients are the ones who most often perpetrate these crimes.
According to the NCEA, a large percentage of the patients who are sexually abused in long-term care facilities are physically or mentally unable to disclose the abuse. This makes disabled patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s particularly vulnerable to attacks. Families who suspect their loved ones are being sexually abused should contact law enforcement officers immediately and remove the person from the situation for their own health and safety.