An investigation by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health says that supervisors at a Peabody nursing home failed to investigate or report several allegations of sexual abuse by a resident in 2018.
The same resident was accused of at least nine incidents of sexual assault over a five-week period in August and September at the nursing home, CareOne at Peabody. These incidents were all witnessed by employees. There were four different victims involved in these incidents, according to the report. The report went on to state that CareOne failed to investigate any of these reported incidents and that the abuse was only uncovered after state inspectors responded to a complaint in November.
In response to these findings, the Department of Public Health halted admissions to CareOne and suggested that the federal government declare "immediate jeopardy" at the nursing home. According to the department, the facility failed to make sure residents were safe from abuse. That admissions freeze was eventually lifted after the DPH decided CareOne had come back into compliance with federal regulations.
The CareOne administrator and director of nursing resigned during the investigation. The resident accused of committing sexual abuse has also been discharged from the facility.
Attorney Kim Dougherty represents survivors of sexual assault in civil lawsuits. We've asked her to share some input concerning the legal options available to nursing home abuse victims and their families:
It's never easy to place a loved one in a nursing home. We all deserve the comfort of knowing that our elderly loved ones are in good hands when this time comes, but sadly, this is not always the case. Physical and sexual abuse has long been a serious issue in nursing homes across the country. In some cases, the individuals who run these establishments are to blame for failing to prevent or report the abuse of their residents.
The victims of nursing home abuse and their families deserve justice for the trauma they've suffered. While the police will handle the prosecution of the abuser, victims and their families often also have grounds for a lawsuit against the facility. If you or a loved one is a survivor of nursing home sexual abuse, you can learn more about your family's legal options by speaking to an experienced sexual abuse survivors attorney.