Nursing home residents may be at risk from rape and other sex crimes. Julie Appleby reports in USA Today that there are registered sex offenders living among the elderly and vulnerable in nursing homes. According to a 2006 report by a U.S. Government Accountability Office, at least 700 registered sex offenders live among the estimated 1.5 million people in long-term care facilities. And even more concerning is the fact that few residents and families are even aware of the danger. Very few states have regulations concerning the notification of facilities and residents that a sex offender lives among them.
Recently more states have begun to evaluate the issue and consider legislation to require notification, and a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing on the matter.
Ray McDaniel believes that all facilities should be required to notify residents and their families if any residents are on the sex offender registry. McDaniel’s 18-year-old daughter was admitted to a nursing home in 2005. 10 days later another resident, who was a registered sex offender, raped her. McDaniel had no idea that a sex offender lived in the facility because no one was required to tell him.
As a result of McDaniel’s daughter’s rape, the state of Ohio is close to passing a bill that would require facilities to post notice that a resident was a sex offender.
Oklahoma, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and some counties in Florida either have or are considering some form of legislation related to long-term care residents who are registered sex offenders.