A nursing home aide was recently convicted of sexually abusing an 61-year old stroke victim at Amsterdam Nursing Home on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The aide was convicted of sex abuse, endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person, and endangering the welfare of a physically disabled person. The aide was caught in the sexual act while under assignment to care for the victim.
It is not very often that this section of the blog crosses over from civil to criminal offenses. In a case as egregious as the one linked below, it is a necessity. According to Section 260.25 of the New York Penal Code, “[A] person is guilty of endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person when he knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a person who is unable to care for himself or herself because of physical disability, mental disease or defect.” A vulnerable elderly person is defined as: “a person sixty years of age or older who is suffering from a disease or infirmity associated with advanced age and manifested by demonstrable physical, mental or emotional dysfunction to the extent that the person is incapable of adequately providing for his or her own health or personal care.” Certainly, a 61 year old incapacitated stroke victim falls under this definition of vulnerable elderly person.
In many instances, injuries suffered by elderly or incapacitated residents of nursing homes are the result of negligence on the part of the staff, their assigned caregivers. Occasionally, however, the offense crosses the line and becomes not only a civil offense, but a criminal offense as well. In such cases, criminal charges must be pursued, above and beyond a civil case, in order for justice to truly be served. That said, the facility can be held civilly responsible for the acts of the employee that committed the offense if that employee had a history of being physical or sexually aggressive and/or if the facility failed to conduct a proper background check before hiring the individual. Sexual abuse is also prohibited by the state (NYCCR) and federal (CFR) rules and regulations we often reference here on the New York Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Blog.