Elder Sexual Abuse


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Lawyers Handling Claims of Sexual Abuse of the Elderly

Tough representation for anyone or any business responsible for the sexual abuse of seniors

Sexual abuse against the elderly often involves some aspect of trust that is abused by a family member, a caretaker, or a staff member of a care facility such as a nursing home or any long-term care facility. Any analysis of sexual abuse of seniors is complicated by the fact that many seniors are too afraid, devastated, or humiliated, to report the abuse. Sadly, even general physicians and physicians who specialize in the care of the elderly often focus on cognitive health, diseases, and other elder care issues before addressing the sexual health of the elderly.

Non-consensual sexual abuse of the elderly is intolerable. The victims can suffer severe physical harm including rape and sexual assault. All victims of elderly sexual abuse suffer emotional and psychological trauma. At Garcia & Artigliere, our elder abuse lawyers fight to restore the dignity of any senior who suffers from sexual abuse. We fight to hold the abusers and any entities that should have prevented the abuse accountable by demanding full compensation for the senior’s physical and emotional harm. We also demand that the abuser and their encouragers stop the sexual abuse and take steps to ensure the abuse never occurs again.

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.


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What is sexual abuse of the elderly?

Sexual abuse of the elderly is one of the most traumatic forms of abuse because it often includes physical abuse and emotional abuse. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines sexual abuse of the elderly as conduct that “involves forced or unwanted sexual interaction of any kind with an older adult. This may include unwanted sexual contact or penetration or non-contact acts such as sexual harassment.” Seniors are people who are 60 or older.

Sexual abuse of seniors is especially heinous because many seniors who suffer sexual abuse have cognitive impairments such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. They are more physically frail than people under 60 which means they can’t defend themselves or assert themselves as easily – though all unwanted sexual contact is dangerous.

Sexual abuse involves both female and male victims and male and female abusers.

Sexual abuse offenders may include family, friends, live-in aids, nursing home staff, and other caretakers. Sexual abuse of seniors can occur in private homes, nursing homes, and any location.

What are the signs a senior was sexually abused?

Family, friends, and nursing home staff should recognize the signs of sexual abuse of the elderly. These signs include:

  • Any injury to the pelvis
  • Difficulty sitting or walking
  • The development of a sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • Clothing including underwear that is torn, stained, or bloody
  • Bruises of the genital areas or inner thigh
  • Bleeding from sexual body parts
  • Anxiety, depression, irritability, and signs of post-traumatic-stress-disorder (PTSD)
  • Withdrawal from others and from social activities
  • Unusual sexual activities
  • Attempts at suicide

Victims of sexual abuse of all ages, including seniors, need medical help to treat any physical injuries and psychological care to help them cope with the unforgivable trauma of sexual abuse.

Our sexual abuse of the elderly lawyers work with counselors who are trained at helping seniors report, communicate, and receive help for the harm sexual abuse causes.


Why does sexual abuse of the elderly happen?

Numerous studies and reviews of sexual abuse indicate that sexual abusers often target the elderly because of the belief the elderly are less likely to resist and less likely to report the sexual assault.

According to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), a European study found that only 6.8 percent of older women and 12.1 percent of older sought counseling for sexual abuse in the last five years. Less than half of the seniors who sought help were satisfied or very satisfied with the help received.

One of the barriers to seeking help for sexual problems, according to the NIH, is that seniors are more likely to seek help for if their doctor asked about sexual function in the prior three years during routine visits – but primary care doctors and nursing home nurses tend not to focus on the sexual health of the elderly.

The NIH also found that the analysis of sexual abuse in the elderly is weak because most studies focus on rape and attempted rape much more than other types of sexual abuse such as sexual harassment, because many seniors are cognitively impaired and for other reasons.

Who is responsible for the sexual abuse of the elderly?

The person who commits sexual abuse can be charged with a crime. They should be held accountable civilly for all the pain and suffering they cause. Civil accountability includes the payment of compensatory and punitive damages. Sexual abuse of the elderly is horrible on many different levels.

It’s not just the abuser who can and should be held accountable. Any private business or entity that employs the abuser can be held liable. The employer may be liable on the theory that employers are generally liable for the acts of their employees if the employer contributed to or tolerated the acts.

Nursing homes and other senior services have a general duty to take every measure possible to protect the seniors they care for from sexual abuse including:

  • Hiring enough qualified staff members
  • Training the staff members about recognizing the signs of sexual abuse by others
  • Implementing a reporting system for reporting suspected sexual abuse of the elderly
  • Working with seniors such as the cognitively impaired who are at a high risk of sexual abuse
  • Ensuring that staff relationships are open and public so others can see if sexual abuse is taking place
  • Responding to complaints of sexual abuse with prompt and thorough investigations and immediate discipline of sexual abusers
  • Implementing written policies and procedures to detect and monitor sexual abuse

What damages can elderly sexual abuse victims demand?

Seniors who are sexually abused in any way deserve to be compensated for their harm and the abusers and those responsible deserve to be held liable. At Garcia & Artigliere, our trial lawyers have obtained more than $3 billion dollars in recoveries for consumers across the country. We understand the evidence that is needed, the laws that apply, and how to persuasively and strongly argue for your rights.

We demand compensation for:

  • Medical bills including emergency care; rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment counseling; hospital care, visits with doctors, therapy, medications, and any other medical costs
  • Physical pain
  • Emotional suffering which is often traumatic and unbearable
  • Loss of life’s pleasures and quality of life
  • Loss of the senior’s dignity

We also demand that the sexual abusers and those who tolerated the abuse pay punitive damages when applicable.

Do you have an elder abuse lawyer near me?

Sexual abuse of seniors is catastrophic. The wrongdoers should be held accountable. The abuse needs to stop now. At Garcia & Artigliere, our lawyers will answer all your questions, guide you step-by-step through the claims process, and assert your rights in full.

Call Garcia & Artigliere now if your elderly loved one was sexually abused

Garcia & Artigliere understands how to show that sexual abuse occurred and why nursing home facilities and others who supervise the abuser should be held responsible. We’re ready to help seniors including seniors with cognitive disabilities obtain the compensation they deserve for their fright and mistreatment.

To discuss your rights or the rights of someone you love to damages for sexual abuse of the elderly, call or contact our offices today to schedule a free, confidential consultation. We fight for the elderly victims of abuse and neglect in California, Louisiana, Arizona, and throughout America. We only receive compensation if the victim of sexual abuse or their family receives compensation. Call for help now.

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