Our Illinois nursing home abuse attorneys understand that one of the most devastating types of nursing home abuse occurs when trusted employees of long-term care facilities take sexual advantage of vulnerable residents. Often times, elderly and disabled nursing home residents are unable to fight back against their attackers, and they suffer traumatic physical and emotional injuries.
One of the latest Illinois sexual abuse nursing home tragedies happened at the Crystal Pines Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Crystal Lake. As the Chicago Tribune reports, a disabled 93-year-old resident was inappropriately touched in her sleep by a nursing home employee. About halfway through his midnight shift, the 22-year-old certified nurse's assistant went into the woman's room and perpetrated the abuse. The woman immediately reported the sexual attack to authorities and went to a local hospital for examination.
News reports indicate that police arrested the alleged attacker at his home on a charge of felony criminal sexual assault. The caregiver posted bond and was released from jail. His criminal proceeding is scheduled to begin in mid-November, and he faces up to 30 years in prison if convicted of the sexual abuse crime. The incident was also reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health.
Sadly, this is not the first time the care center faces allegations of abuse or neglect. According to a 2009 inspection report by the Department of Health and Human Services, the facility failed to follow the department's hiring regulations and failed to properly protect residents from abuse, neglect, and mistreatment.
Sexual abuse of nursing home residents cannot be tolerated, and it is important to hold nursing homes responsible for their role in these attacks. In addition to criminal proceedings, which are brought by the state, victims of nursing home abuse and their families can also bring a civil action against the attacker and the long-term care facility. A civil lawsuit can provide compensation for physical injuries as well as mental and emotional trauma. It also incentivizes negligent or reckless facilities to avoid causing patients further harm.
Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are legally required to provide for the health and safety of residents and follow basic hiring guidelines to avoid hiring employees with a history of abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. These facilities are also expected to promptly investigate all allegations of abuse, and notify authorities of any violations.
When a long-term care facility allows a brutal sexual attack to occur, an experienced nursing home attorney can use the justice system to hold them liable. We have worked with countless victims of nursing home abuse and neglect, and we understand the mental and physical pain these victims suffer when nursing home employees take advantage of their vulnerable position. The legal system provides a remedy for sexual abuse victims and their families, and may prevent similar attacks from occurring. It is important that you speak with a skilled nursing home abuse attorney as soon as you are aware of the abuse because there is a statutorily defined period of time in which you can file a lawsuit to receive compensation for your loss.