According to a lawsuit filed in April 2014 by the family of 85-year-old Bernice Youngblood, a former patient at East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, a Long Island nursing home, the facility subjected the elderly woman to “disgraceful sexual perversion” when it paid $250 for a male stripper to perform for the residents in September 2012. The lawsuit states that Youngblood is a traditional Baptist who has been “defiled” by the incident. Sitting in a wheelchair during a press conference, the elderly woman mumbled that she felt “terrible” and ashamed about the occurrence. The suit states, “Plaintiff Bernice Youngblood was placed in apprehension of imminent, offensive, physical harm, as she was confused and bewildered as to why a muscular, almost nude man, was approaching her and placing his body and limbs, over [her].” In addition, the suit claims that hiring male stripper was a “serial occurrence” at the facility.
The incident came to light in January 2013 after the elderly woman’s son, Franklin Youngblood, found a picture of his mother putting dollar bills into a male dancer’s underwear during a nursing home event. When the son confronted a nurse about the picture, the nurse allegedly “lunged” at him in an attempt to take it away. The son became upset because he claims that his mother suffers from partial dementia and has brief moments of lucidity.
However, in response to the lawsuit, an attorney for the nursing home stated that a 16-member committee made up of residents voted and approved to have a male stripper perform. While nursing home administrators can reject a committee’s request if it is deemed harmful, the attorney said, “But in this instance these are adults who wanted to have this activity, they requested it, they voted on it and the nursing home approved it.”
Moreover, the nursing home’s attorney stated that Franklin Youngblood’s girlfriend is sitting next to Bernice Youngblood in the picture. He stated, “She happens to be the live-in girlfriend who holds herself out as the wife of Mr. Youngblood, who is complaining how his mother was treated.” However, Youngblood’s attorney stated that the woman in the picture is a staff member, not Youngblood’s girlfriend.
The nursing home’s attorney also stated that the elderly woman knowingly and willfully attended the event with the male stripper. He stated, “This does not appear to be anything but consensual.” He refuted claims that the woman is suffering from dementia by pointing to a power of attorney document that the woman signed which states that she was mentally competent to sign it.
While the lawsuit claims that the performance was “all for the perverse pleasure and enjoyment of the Defendant’s staff,” Mayann Russo, whose mother resides at the nursing home, stated that the male dancer made the residents happy. She remarked, “They were excited, the ones who were very depressed were happy and smiling, they had a good time.”
The incident is currently being investigated by the New York State Department of Health.
Website Resource: Nursing home hired strippers for patients: suit, NY Post, Selim Algar, April 8, 2014