Sexual Assault in Long Term Care Facilities

January 21st, 2016 by Attorney Roger Weinberg

The abuse of any elderly or disabled person is always disturbing, but what can be especially cruel is the sexual abuse of those in assisted living facilities. Sexual predators take advantage of the elderly and disabled who may be physically or mentally unable to fight back. If a loved one has suffered this kind of attack, contact the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg office right away so we can take immediate legal action to make sure this abuse stops and your family member is protected.

Sexual Assaults are More Prevalent than People Often Realize.

There are some grim statistics concerning the sexual abuse of the elderly and disabled. These are from the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services (WDHFS), extracted from nationwide studies:

  • 18% of women who are raped each year are 60 years of age or older.
  • About 70.7% of older victims were assaulted in nursing homes; 14.6% of them in the homes of the perpetrators; 12.2% were in their own homes; and 2.4% were assaulted in adult care residences.
  • Sexually abusive acts committed on elders were witnessed by others a third of the time.
  • More than one half of sexual assault victims living in nursing homes died within a year of their victimization, according to one study.

Studies have shown a number of issues that may make abuse in general, and sexual abuse in particular, more likely, according to the book Elder Abuse: Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation in an Aging America:

  • The risk for abuse increases when a person’s dependence on staff for safety, protection and care increases.
  • Victims are more likely to be old and nonwhite and to have greater limitations in physical and cognitive functioning.
  • A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, another type of dementia or some type of memory loss or confusion was present at a higher rate among nursing home residents who had been sexually abused, compared to the general nursing home population.
  • Residents who are more difficult to control and show behavioral issues like physical aggressiveness, appear to be at higher risk for abuse by staff.

Assisted living facilities can have residents with a range of physical and mental challenges, not just the elderly. Various studies conclude:

  • As many as 83% of females and 32% of males with developmental disabilities are victims of sexual assault.
  • 40% of women with physical disabilities reported being sexually assaulted.
  • 49% of people with developmental disabilities who are victims of sexual violence will experience on average ten or more abusive incidents.
  • Only 3% of sexual abuse cases involving people with developmental disabilities are reported.
  • 33% of abusers are friends or acquaintances, 33% are natural or foster family members and 25% are caregivers or service providers.

A Recent Example from Baltimore, MD

One example of such abuse is that of Gary Toft, an assisted living facility residential counselor for Creative Options, a northeast Baltimore assisted-living facility, who was arrested and charged in the sexual assault of a developmentally disabled man in September 2014, according to WBAL TV. Toft confessed to the sexual assault involving of the victim and told investigators of sexual assaults he committed in other jurisdictions. A month later Toft was charged in connection with two sexual assaults at another Creative Options facility, reports the Baltimore Sun.

Maryland Sexual Assault Attorney

If your loved one has been a victim of a sexual assault by nursing home or assisted living facility staff in Maryland, contact our office. At the Law Offices of Roger S. Weinberg you’ll find compassionate support and experienced advocates to help your family through the tough times. Call 1-866-529-5839 today to schedule a free consultation.

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