A nursing home employee reported that they witnessed a nursing assistant sexually assaulting a resident. According to an article from the Valley Central News Channel 4 in Harlingen, Texas, the police were summoned to the Harlingen Nursing and Rehabilitation Center because of reports of a sexual assault.
According to the article, the news channel has obtained an affidavit that contained the following information:
Police say they made contact with an employee who stated she saw Javier Cruz Gil, 19, having sexual contact with a patient without the patient’s consent. According to the affidavit, the employee walked into the patient’s bedroom to give him medicine when she saw Gil “squatting” on top of the patient. When the employee asked Gil what he was doing, he said, “nothing” and put his pants back on, according to the affidavit. The report stated that the employee saw the patient in an aroused state and had to cover the patient with a blanket. The employee later told police that “Gil asked her not to say anything.”
Police Investigation and Nursing Home’s Response
According to the article, after further investigation the police arrested Gil, who according to the nursing home, is no longer an employee. The nursing home released the following statement as reported by the article:
“Due to the ongoing investigation of this matter, we cannot respond to any specifics related to a resident’s care. We will continue to support and cooperate with local authorities to review the matter. We will continue to support and cooperate with local authorities to review the matter. The employee in question is no longer employed at the Harlingen Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. As care providers, protecting the privacy, dignity, and rights of our residents is always our greatest concern. As always we will take any steps necessary to ensure our residents are protected and cared for in the most respectful manner.”
In cases such as this one, the police have the ability to investigate and refer to a prosecutor to hold the assailant accountable criminally. The police and prosecutor will likely stop there.
A nursing home sexual assault lawyer can assist a family in reporting sexual abuse to the police and representing the family with the prosecutor. Beyond that, a nursing home rape lawyer can also help hold the nursing home accountable for hiring and continuing to employ a rapist through a civil investigation and, if warranted, lawsuit.
Why the Elderly are a Target for Sexual Abuse
Elderly people can be easier targets for sexual violators.
Elder sexual abuse perpetrators may target the elderly because they are unable to fight back from frailty, cognitive limitations, inability to speak, or the likelihood they may not be taken seriously if they report the assault. Many cases of elder sexual abuse involving nursing home staff are assaults of residents who may have dementia or a mental illness. Restraining and intimidating the elderly is much easier, too, especially when they do not have a family support system on site, as in a nursing home.
In this case it seems, the certified nursing assistant was preying on someone who could not consent. This is terrifying, and absolutely despicable. There are several questions that need to be answered. Was a background check performed on the nurses aid? Did this person have a history of abuse? Were there other incidents? These are all questions that the nursing home should answer. Sometimes, it is necessary to hire an attorney to handle these difficult questions.
A nursing home that fails to properly screen employees, monitor and respond to possible issues, or properly supervise them, can be liable for negligence leading to resident sexual assault by nursing home staff. This may result from poor training and understaffing. When a nursing home fails to properly supervise employees or properly train employees on how to spot sexual abuse and sexual abuse occurs, the nursing home can be liable.
Here are some additional Ohio resources to report nursing home abuse, including sexual abuse:
- The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program investigates abuse complaints on behalf of any recipient of long-term care services including home If the complaint alleges probable harm, they must initiate an investigation within one business day.
- The Ohio Department of Health investigates abuse in nursing homes. There are requirements that govern the facility investigation and An internal investigation and report are due to ODH within 5 days.
- The Western Reserve Geriatric Education Center has developed a model program for the training of law enforcement in identifying and investigating elder
If you have questions regarding this topic, please visit our page that could help answer questions on this extremely difficult topic. I am here to help you. If you would like to speak with me regarding an incident, I will begin an investigation and help you get answers. You can contact me here. Please know that this is a serious matter and my staff and I are dedicated to holding those responsible accountable.
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