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Update: Nurse Arrested for Sexual Assault of Incapacitated Nursing Home Patient

Posted on in Nursing Home Abuse

Chicago nursing home abuse attorneysA couple of weeks ago, a post on this blog discussed a case out of Arizona in which a female nursing home patient gave birth despite having been incapacitated for more than 25 years. The nature of the story led to national headlines as the investigation continued locally to determine how such a thing could have happened. This week, law enforcement officials in Phoenix announced that they have made an arrest in the case and that the suspect will be facing criminal charges.

A Quick Recap

According to various news outlets, a 29-year-old patient surprised the staff at a Phoenix-area nursing home when she went into labor on December 29, 2018, and gave birth to a baby boy. The labor was surprising because the woman had been incapacitated and living in the nursing home since a near-drowning incident when she was 3 years old. Staff members said that they had no idea that the woman was pregnant until she went into labor.

Early stories reported that the woman was in a vegetative state, but her family has since refuted those reports. An attorney for her family said, “She does not speak but has some ability to move her limbs, head, and neck. [She] responds to sound and is able to make facial gestures.”

DNA Testing Leads to Arrest of Employee

Following the child’s birth, Phoenix police announced that they would be conducting DNA tests to identify a potential suspect. With the woman in the condition that she was in, the father of the child could not have obtained her consent for sexual activity.

The police secured a warrant to obtain DNA samples from all of the male employees at the nursing home. One employee—a 36-year-old licensed practical nurse (LPN)—was found to be a match to DNA samples taken from the baby. The man had worked at the nursing home since 2011. He was arrested and charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse. The man was also fired from the nursing home upon his arrest. He was released on a $500,000 bond, and he is being monitored electronically, court documents show.

Nursing Home Responsibility

For its part, the nursing home has been cooperating with the investigation. Officials from the facility say that the suspect had no prior criminal record and underwent “an extensive background check upon hiring.” In the wake of the incident, the home’s CEO has stepped down, and two of the doctors involved with the patient’s care are no longer providing services. One resigned and the other was suspended. Nursing home and law enforcement officials do not believe that anyone other than the one LPN was involved.

At this point, it is unclear whether the family will seek financial compensation from the nursing home. A nursing facility must take steps to ensure the safety of its patients, so there is a reasonable possibility of settlement talks if not a full lawsuit in the near future. Without all of the details, however, it remains to be seen whether the victim’s family will be able to prove that the nursing home was truly negligent.

Call a Chicago Nursing Home Abuse Attorney

If you have a loved one who has experienced neglect or abuse while living in a nursing home, contact an experienced Illinois nursing home abuse injury lawyer. Call 312-535-4625 for a free consultation today. We will help you explore your available options and assist you in making the best possible decisions for your loved one.

 

Sources:

https://www.npr.org/2019/01/23/687695393/arizona-police-arrest-nurse-suspected-of-impregnating-incapacitated-woman

https://www.abc15.com/news/region-phoenix-metro/central-phoenix/hacienda-healthcare-investigation-phoenix-officials-give-update-on-sexual-assault-investigation

https://www.foxnews.com/us/nurse-arrested-in-rape-of-woman-in-vegetative-state-who-gave-birth-at-care-facility

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