WTKR reported on the issue of sexual assaults in nursing homes. The problem has been there since the beginning of institutional care but it has significantly increased in the last couple of years. Many experts and consumer advocates question whether nursing homes that have demented and vulnerable adults attract sexual predators or if the failure to supervise and monitor employees allow for such assaults to occur regularly. There were several cases in 2018 of medical staff accused of patient abuse in nursing homes and hospitals, and a 2017 CNN report found the federal government had cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for failing to prevent sex abuse at their facilities or mishandling the reports.
The article on WTKR has many tragic examples which illustrate a troubling concern for patients and families involved with medical facilities: Staff who may take advantage sexually of the weak and most vulnerable, regardless of age.
“I’ve wondered if nursing home care draws that particular type of predator,” said Dominique Penson, a partner at the law firm Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson. Penson believes many of these abuses happen on overnight shifts and early morning hours.
“I think it’s pervasive,” Penson said of alleged abuse in nursing homes and other medical facilities.
“I don’t think there’s any question it’s pervasive.”
“Unfortunately, it could be a physician, it could be some sort of health care professional, it could be maintenance,” forensic psychologist Dr. NG Berrill said of the staff who have access to patients.
Psychologist Dr. Patrick Suraci said this kind of sexual activity is like a fetish that stops just short of necrophilia, sex with dead people.
“In this case, what these men are doing, it’s a minor form (of necrophilia) because they will have sex with a living body, but also one that cannot respond. So, they have complete control over this body.”
“And this is exciting to them,” Berrill said.
“It’s sort of an issue of power and it probably fulfills some sort of morbid fantasy.”
In New York City, Dr. David Newman, once an emergency room doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four female patients.
One of the women said he immobilized her with the anesthetic Propofol and ejaculated on her chest. She was able to preserve DNA evidence.
Newman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in state prison.