Elder Sexual Abuse


California Lawyers Handling Claims of Sexual Abuse of the Elderly

California attorneys providing caring and strong representation for seniors who are sexually abused or assaulted

Sexual abuse of the elderly is devastating. Most seniors, due to their advanced years and the trauma of any sexual attack never fully recover. Most instances of sexual abuse of the elderly involve someone the senior trusted or knew. Tragically, many of the elderly who suffer sexual abuse have dementia or Alzheimer’s. At Garcia & Artigliere, our California sexual abuse lawyers are skilled at holding the abuser and anyone responsible for preventing sexual abuse, including in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and private caretakers, accountable for any harm a senior suffers. We have an impressive record of settlements and verdicts totaling $3 billion.

Elder abuse attorney Stephen M. Garcia obtained $5.4 million dollars for an 87-year-old woman who was repeatedly sexually molested by the co-manager of a residential care facility. The co-manager had a long history of alleged sexual misconduct at the facility, but none of the incidents of elder abuse were reported to either Adult Protective Services or to the Department of Social Services. Upon discovery, the nursing home fired the co-manager and waited 8 days to report his actions to the police, giving him time to flee.


What is sexual abuse of the elderly?

Sexual abuse of anyone of any age is horrific. The immediate consequences are shock, fear, anger, and grief. Most sexual abuse permanently makes victims worry about their safety.

When a senior is sexually abused, the consequences can be especially hideous, because many seniors have cognitive and physical impairments which makes resisting and reporting the abuse that much harder.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's definition of sexual abuse of anyone 60 or older is any conduct that “involves forced or unwanted sexual interaction of any kind with an older adult. Sexual abuse includes nonconsensual sexual contact or penetration and sexual behavior that doesn’t involve physical contact but causes psychological harm such as harassment.

Both women and men can be abused and be abusers.

The sexual abusers of the elderly may include nursing home staff, visitors to any type of assisted living facility, live-in helpers, personal caretakers, families, people the senior knows, and strangers. Other residents in a long-term care facility may also be the abusers.

What factors indicate an elderly person was sexually abused in California?

Some of the signs of sexual abuse that those who love or care for the elderly should look for include physical trauma as well as emotional/psychological trauma, such as:

  • Pelvic injuries
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Problems walking or sitting
  • Ripped, bloody, or torn undergarments and other clothing
  • Bleeding or bruising of genital areas or the inner thighs
  • Psychological signs, including withdrawal, anxiousness, depression, and signs of post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Unusual sexual activities
  • Suicide attempts

Any elderly victim of suspected sexual abuse should be examined immediately. Most hospitals and emergency rooms provide sensitive physical and emotional care for sexual abuse victims – while also taking steps with the help of forensic nurses to preserve medical evidence, such as DNA test results.

At Garcia & Artigliere, our California elder abuse attorneys compassionately help victims while aggressively seeking to hold the abusers and anyone who should have stopped the sexual abuse accountable.


Why does sexual abuse of seniors occur in California?

Sexual abuse of seniors often occurs because seniors are viewed as less likely to resist due to their physical and cognitive impairments. Seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s are seen as less likely to file complaints or testify because they can’t remember what happened.

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH), based on a European study, found that many women and seniors fail to report sexual abuse. Some reasons seniors may fail to report sexual abuse or file criminal or civil complaints are:

  • Cognitive disabilities
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Embarrassment and humility
  • Lack of emotional support from others

Primary care physicians and nursing home medical staff often focus on the common physical injuries the elderly have, such as arthritis, heart disease, and cancer instead of the sexual health of seniors.

At Garcia & Artigliere, our California sexual abuse lawyers work with medical professionals, family members, and any witnesses to show a caretaker or someone who used a caretaker’s facility had access to the senior and did sexually abuse the senior.

Who can be held liable for the sexual abuse of seniors in California?

The person who sexually abuses a senior may be charged with sex crime offenses, which may result in imprisonment. At Garcia & Artigliere, our California sexual abuse attorneys file civil complaints against the abusers. We seek full compensation for the physical and emotional harm to your loved one.

Our trial lawyers also file personal injury claims against any caretakers whose neglect allowed sexual abuse to occur or if the abuser was an employee of the caretaker.

The defendants may be liable for the following reasons:

  • Employers such as nursing homes are generally liable for the conduct of their employees. This means if an employee of a nursing home sexually abused your loved one, the nursing home could be held liable.
  • Long-term care facilities and caretaker businesses and agencies may also be liable if they fail to implement policies and procedures to prevent sexual abuse of the elderly they care for, or fail to respond to complaints of sexual abuse.
  • For example, nursing homes and other caretakers may be liable for sexual abuse if they fail to:
    • Hire enough competent staff members
    • Conduct background checks on potential employees
    • Train their employees and contractors to recognize the signs of sexual abuse of any residents or anyone in their care
    • Implement policies and procedures to encourage seniors or their family members to report sexual abuse
    • Investigate allegations of sexual abuse
    • Take sufficient steps to protect anyone in their care who has cognitive disabilities
    • Protect residents from other residents
    • Rotate staff members and ensure that staff members are properly monitored

How much is an elderly sexual abuse claim worth in California?

At Garcia & Artigliere, our California elder abuse lawyers have more than 150 years of combined experience fighting the elderly who suffer sexual abuse, physical abuse, and negligent care. We work with each of the elderly client’s doctors to fully understand every way they’ve been harmed and how severe the harm is.

Our California sexual abuse lawyers demand compensation for a senior’s:

  • Medical bills, including emergency care, hospitalizations, doctor care for physical injuries, psychological care, medications, and other healthcare costs
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional pain which is often traumatic and permanent
  • The loss of dignity and loss of the senior’s quality of life

We often seek punitive damages as well because sexual abuse is unconscionable.

In one illustrative case, founding attorney Stephen M. Garcia obtained $5.4 million on behalf of an 87-year-old woman who was continually sexually molested by the co-manager of a residential care facility. Even though the abuser had a long history of alleged sexual misconduct at the facility, the conduct of the co-manager was never reported to Adult Protective Services or to the Department of Social Services. Based on our investigation, we found that the facility, a nursing home, terminated the employment of the co-manager but waited eight days to report his actions to the police, giving the co-manager time to flee.

Do you have a California sexual abuse lawyer near me?

Garcia & Artigliere represents victims of sexual throughout California. We maintain offices in Long Beach and Los Angeles. Our lawyers obtained $50 million in settlements and verdicts for our clients in 2022 alone. We have the experience, resources, and respect to help you assert your rights now.

Call the California sexual abuse lawyers at Garcia & Artigliere now

Sexual abuse of the elderly is unconscionable. The abuse leaves victims emotionally scarred for the rest of their lives. At Garcia & Artigliere, our California sexual abuse lawyers are skilled at showing that your loved one was sexually abused and why a nursing home, long-term care facility, or private caretaker should be held accountable in addition to the abuser. We fight for the cognitively disabled as well as seniors whose mental abilities are intact.

Call or contact our offices now to schedule a free, confidential consultation. We proudly serve California, including Long Beach and Los Angeles. We have additional offices in New Orleans, Phoenix, and Louisville. There are no upfront costs.

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Additional services for victims of elder abuse in California