Authorities have issued steep fines against a Washington, D.C. nursing home for failing to report allegations of sexual abuse. They say that nursing home employees took more than a week to report sexual abuse that the employees saw first-hand, which clearly shows that the employees did not take the steps necessary to protect residents from abuse.
The alleged assailant returned to work at the facility as a result of these failures. Authorities say their investigation revealed that the worker managed to gain access to the floor where the woman lived after the alleged incident.
The allegations involve a woman with dementia. Authorities say that a construction worker on the facility grounds entered the woman’s room alone and that a housekeeper found the construction worker partially nude and standing over the woman. The housekeeper fled the room.
Both the housekeeper and additional employees failed to report the incident. The housekeeper said that she didn’t report the incident because she assumed the woman consented to the sexual contact. However, the housekeeper allegedly ignored her duty to investigate the incident and did not take the necessary steps to keep the woman and all assisted living residents safe.
Chevy Chase House in Washington, D.C. Fined for Failing to Report Abuse
The Chevy Chase House is the assisted living facility involved in the incident. DC Health Department authorities say an investigation showed that employees didn’t even notify the victim’s family. First, workers escorted the man off the premises. He subsequently returned to discuss the allegations. The victim said she doesn’t remember the incident.
The construction worker involved has not been charged with sexual misconduct. However, a lack of criminal charges doesn’t let the nursing home facility off the hook. D.C. Health Department officials say that harsh fines are appropriate in order to hold the facility accountable for their misconduct.
Family members of the woman say they feel violated as they put their trust in the care providers at the home. Now that the care facility violated that trust, they had to reevaluate the right place for their loved one. The alleged victim is 66 years old.
“When someone puts their mom or dad in an assisted-living facility, there’s a trust there,” attorney Peter Anderson told News4. “It showed a blatant lack of care.”
The son moved his mother to a new facility shortly after the incident, but questions remain as his mother doesn’t recall the number or substance of interactions she had with the construction worker.
“That means the whole time she was there, who knows what could have been going on? ” he said.
Among other complaints, the Health Department says that the housekeeper didn’t take immediate steps to protect the woman. Instead of taking action, the woman closed the door and left the woman alone with the construction worker. The housekeeper didn’t check on the woman at all that same day. Authorities say they aren’t sure what happened with the construction worker and the woman but that the woman had dementia and the care facility failed to comply with regulations in place for the safety of all residents.
Health Department officials fined the Chevy Chase House $10,000 for their actions in the incident. They say that the fine is for failing to report the allegations immediately, failure to investigate, and failure to protect residents from abuse. Chevy Chase House representatives have little to say about the allegations. The D.C. Health Department says that the facility still has a license to operate.
Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes
Sexual abuse in nursing homes is devastating to victims and their families. Victims may not only suffer harm because of perpetrators but also because of the care providers who fail to respond appropriately to reports of abuse. When a victim suffers from sexual abuse in a nursing home, they have the right to take action to protect their safety and hold representatives accountable when those representatives fail to do the right thing.
When a person lives in an assisted care facility, the care providers have a duty to protect the resident. The standards may be based on ordinary negligence, and they may also be based on medical malpractice laws. Not only can the resident hold the offender accountable, but they may also bring a claim against the nursing home care provider for their failure to protect the resident.
Proving Sexual Abuse Nursing Home Cases in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
To prove a sexual abuse case in a nursing home, you must show negligence or medical malpractice. Medical malpractice is a specialized form of negligence that occurs in a medical setting. Winning a nursing home sexual abuse case requires you to prove a breach of duty, harm, and a connection between the breach of duty and the resulting harm.
Duty and Breach of Duty in a Nursing Home Sexual Assault Case
The nursing home has a duty to provide reasonable care for people who live in the home. If the injured victim is a resident of the nursing home, there’s typically no trouble proving that the nursing home had a duty to the victim. A breach of duty requires showing that the representatives of the home didn’t provide care that is up to the same standards of an ordinary, reasonable care facility. The nursing home must provide professional and competent services.
Causation in a Nursing Home Sexual Assault Case
Causation means showing the link between the nursing home’s failures and the injury that the victim suffers. It means showing that the victim is hurt because of things that the nursing home could have done differently. For example, if failing to report or respond to sexual abuse results in additional abuse, mental trauma, or other harm, that’s causation. Even a single incident of sexual assault may be the responsibility of the nursing home if they did not appropriately investigate the employee before hiring them, fail to properly supervise them during the course of their employment, or fail to respond appropriately to an abuse report.
Damages in a Nursing Home Sexual Assault Case
Damages are another key consideration in any nursing home sexual assault case. In a sexual assault case, the emotional damage is often high. An attorney can help you value your damages in order to ensure that the claim represents the full value of the case under the law.
Contact our Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C. Nursing Home Sexual Assault Attorneys
If you suspect that a loved one is suffering from nursing home sexual assault, emotional abuse, physical abuse or negligence, KBA Attorneys can help. Our legal team can help you take action in order to stop nursing home abuse, report it to the appropriate authorities, and seek justice in the form of financial compensation. Being the victim of nursing home sexual assault is never easy, but our experienced team at KBA Attorneys are all trained professionals ready to help. Contact us today or fill out our online application today for a confidential consultation.
- NBC4. “DC Fines Assisted-Living Facility for Delays Reporting Sex Abuse Allegation“, NBC4, https://www.nbcwashington.com/investigations/DC-Fines-Assisted-Living-for-Delays-Reporting-Sex-Abuse-Allegation-507172941.html. Accessed March 25, 2019.