Last Friday, Minnesota shocked the world of nursing home abuse with a report of 15 residents who had been sexually and emotionally abused in heinous and humiliating ways by four nursing assistants. While abusive nursing home staff working in collusion is not unknown in nursing home abuse cases, what was most shocking was who these four abusers were: teenage girls.
The typical profile of a nursing home sexual abuser remains male and a person working alone, though coworkers at the nursing home may be made accomplices in his depraved abuse of the elderly for whom he cares. Physical abuse and emotional abuse is slightly more common among both sexes as stress and mental disorder can lead to resident abuse. Four teenage girls is unheard of. And, unfortunately for the nursing home residents at Good Samaritan Society in Albert Lea, MN, went unheard for months.
What saved the day was the confession of a fifth girl who knew of, but was not party to, the abuse. And she spoke out only after she was fired, explaining during her exit interview how the four abusers operated.
Their targets under their charge, like many sexual predators, were residents with severe Alzheimer’s or dementia. Allegedly to make work more fun, according to newspapers, these four teenage girls fondled the nursing home residents’ breasts, buttocks, and genitals, inserted foreign objects in their anuses and mouths, simulated sexual acts, spit into their mouths, stuck fingers in their mouths and noses to keep them from screaming, and exposed themselves and otherwise sexually abused and teased them, many times while physically restraining the abused nursing home resident.
The adolescent (three juveniles, one an adult) girls would laugh when residents became upset, according to news reports. The four bragged about what they did, according to one employee. Though staff was told to report suspect situations right away, they were not trained to and failed to report. Some at the nursing home stated they knew of what the four were doing but did not know what to do. The four abusers reportedly treated their abuse as a joke and openly talked about what they were doing with other nursing home employees.
Minnesota Department of Health officials have told local reporters that the nursing home will keep its license because it addressed the abuse issues and contacted the proper authorities. The criminal case is awaiting the county attorney’s bringing charges against these four nursing home aides. The four abusers have since been terminated by the nursing home.
The nonprofit Good Samaritan Society maintains 230 care locations across the country, including one in Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, west of Knoxville.
Not all nursing home sexual abuse is as blatant as what these four teenage girls did to those under their care, though many times it is even worse, much worse. I urge anyone who suspects their loved one of suffering sexual abuse at a Tennessee nursing home to contact the Nashville law offices of Higgins, Himmelberg & Piliponis at (615) 353-0930 or fill out our suspected TN nursing home abuse form to speak with me or another of our nursing home attorneys.
Too often these abuse cases remain quieted by the Tennessee nursing home and are only brought into the open, and victims given justice, when a nursing home attorney begins the process of discovery. If you’re reading this because you suspect your loved one in a Tennessee nursing home has suffered some form of abuse or neglect, let us know so our attorneys can take a look. Our initial consultations are always free of charge.