Stories of nursing home abuse are unfortunately familiar. Too many callous staff members are found taking advantage of the sick and weak residents dependent on their care. An Arizona healthcare facility is in the spotlight recently due to a horrific discovery. On December 29th, 2018 a 29-year-old incapacitated woman delivered a baby at the healthcare facility while in a vegetative state. This woman has been in a coma for the past 10 years.
Law enforcement investigators report that nursing home staff allegedly had no prior knowledge of the long-term resident’s pregnancy. Therefore, the woman received no prenatal care or additional food through her normal feeding tube portions. Staff members of the facility including those during the approximate time of conception, are under DNA analysis and a criminal investigation by local authorities.
An unquestionable sex crime
This case is being treated as a sex crime since it is obvious the woman was unable to consent to sexual intercourse at the time of conception. Because of the pregnancy and delivery, only one count of sexual assault can be raised against the perpetrator at the moment. However, it is unclear exactly how many times the woman or others in the facility may have been raped or molested during their long-term stay undergoing 24-hour care.
Elderly residents and sexual abuse
Elderly residents are at high risk of experiencing sexual abuse as well. Statistics of nursing home abuse conclude the following:
• Females are victims more than six times than male residents.
• About 70 percent of sexual assault does not get reported to authorities.
• 83 percent are nursing home residents
• 80 percent of abusers are staff members/caregivers.
• 76 percent of sexual assaults included witnesses at the time of the event
Family members and loved ones are urged to stay in touch with those residing in nursing homes. Showing up, visiting, taking time to ask questions, and making a note of anything out of the ordinary is highly valuable when preventing and stopping the continuation of abuse of any kind.
The legal system is available to fight crimes that are happening to the voiceless all over the country. These assaults deserve the whistle blown loudly and clearly for all to hear, so that justice may indeed be served, and the dignity of each protected.