A patient at Anchor Care and Rehabilitation Center has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting another resident. According to police, the alleged sexual assault happened in September at the Palm Bay nursing home.
Police say a woman woke up to discover another patient groping her. She pulled a cord next to her bed to alert medical staff that there was an emergency. Staff responded to the alert and reportedly found 65-year-old patient Willfred Francis groping her against her will.
According to police, the victim has problems with verbal communication that prevent her from speaking out loud. She does not have problems with intellectual or mental faculties.
Police questioned Francis, who reportedly said that he was aware of her communication issues and told police that "she can't call for help," according to police reports.
Francis was arrested on Monday, November 25 and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation on an elderly or disabled adult.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard represents sex abuse victims in civil cases. Michael has a few thoughts to add regarding the legal rights of nursing home abuse victims and their families:
The safety of residents must be a top priority for all nursing homes. Sadly, the elderly and other vulnerable groups are often targeted by sexual predators. While we all expect nursing homes to be safe spaces, there have been numerous reports of residents being sexually assaulted by fellow residents, staff members, and intruders.
In nursing home sexual abuse cases, it's important to ask how the abuse could have been prevented. Some of these cases only happen due to negligence by the nursing home - such as one resident sexually assaulting another due to inadequate security standards. In cases of negligence, nursing home abuse victims and their families may have grounds for a lawsuit.
If you or a loved one is a victim of sexual assault at a nursing home, our experienced sexual assault victims attorneys are prepared to help your family find justice. You can learn more about your family's legal options in a free consultation.