LoHud.com had a story about Carolyn M. Wheeler, a 29-year-old nursing home employee, who was arrested after other employees caught her engaging in sexual contact with a 60-year-old male patient who suffers from a severe mental defect.  How could the nursing home let this happen?  Who was supervising this employee?



The employee was charged with felony second-degree endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person and misdemeanor second-degree sex abuse.  Wheeler was caught by a staff member engaging in sexual contact with the patient at about 6 p.m. Aug. 17, police said. The man apparently suffers from several medical conditions that would have prevented him from giving consent to the sexual contact.  It is unclear if Wheeler had multiple sexual contacts with the patient.   Police also are investigating whether other patients may have been victims, though that was difficult because many of the patients in the home suffer from dementia and other mental conditions.





5 Thoughts on “Female employee sexually abuses resident

  1. Carolyn was off duty at the time of the incident. It occurred at six in the evening…most of the activity staff only works until five. I worked at the nursing home in question for seven years and Carolyn was actually my replacement. Somers Manor Nursing Home does an extensive background check on all its employees. It sometimes can take months before they’ll allow new employees to work with patients alone, pending the results of the background check. It’s not the nursing home’s fault that this happened. There is no way to predict what an employee might do in the future. If they have no record, there is nothing to indicate this sort of behavior might occur. They also have a Union in the nursing home which protects the rights of employees, and the termination laws in NY state prevent an employer for firing an employee without just cause. In other words, you can’t just fire an employee because they seem a little strange. Also, at the time when the incident occurred, most of the residents were in the dining room having dinner and the staff was there with them. This was not a time when recreation was taking place, so no one was supervising an employee that wasn’t even at work.

  2. Shannon:

    You make it sound like it was a one time incident but how do you know? She might have been exploiting this resident for months, or others residents for that matter. Are you telling me that it was ok because she was off-duty? Why is she there if she is off-duty? Doesn’t the nursing home have a duty to supervise visitors as well as employees? I am not sure I understand your defense of the nursing home–are you saying that there was no way to prevent this woman from having sex with a resident? How could her co-workers not know what is going on in a resident’s room?

  3. Okay, first of all, I personally do not believe this was a one time incident. Where did I say that? People that I have spoken to on staff at the nursing home do not believe so either, but there is no evidence that there were other incidents, so there you go.

    Third of all, residents in nursing homes have rights. They have a right to have visitors. They even have a right to have sex with the visitors, provided they are cognitively capable of consenting.The nursing home must provide a private space for them to do so, too, if that is their wish-it’s part of the resident’s bill of rights. The nursing home does not have a duty to police visitors. The only case where they would do so is if a family member or healthcare proxy requested that a certain person not be allowed to visit their loved one for whatever reason,or they had reason to believe the visitor might harm the resident. It may be hard for you to fathom, but loved ones can sometimes behave in an emotionally abusive way detrimental to the resident’s well being, and these people would have limited visitation or be prevented from visiting altogether. Other than that, residents can have whomever they want visit them in private. It would be inappropriate for a staff member to “supervise” a visitor. If God forbid you had to put your mother in a nursing home, how would you feel if staff felt the need to stand around supervising your visit? Outraged, probably.

    You ask how her coworkers could not know what is going on in a resident’s room. Well, her direct coworkers (the recreation staff) had left the facility at five pm, one hour before.I know the majority of them very well and know they would have reported this if they had known about it, or even been suspicious. The other nursing home staff sure DID know…they called their supervisors and the police! Are you forgetting that she was CAUGHT? How do you think that happened? Again, let me reiterate-this was the dinner hour. Most residents are in the dining room ,and the staff with them. The nursing home wants every resident to take meals in the dining room where they can be supervised, but residents have the right to refuse and take meals in their room. It’s common, especially, for a younger nursing home resident (the victim was only sixty) to refuse to eat with the much older others, who may drool, call out, etc. This would have put the resident alone on the unit. Working at the nursing home, Carolyn would know that this was a good time to have privacy with the resident. Unfortunately for her, however, a staff member did unexpectedly enter the room and catch her in the act.

    Despite the fact that having sex with a nursing home resident will get you fired as per the nursing home policy, it’s not necessarily illegal. It was illegal in this case because it was determined that this man was not cognitively capable of giving consent. Yet my mother worked in a nursing home where a PT was caught having sex with a forty-two year old rehab resident, was fired, but not arrested because he was capable of consenting to the act.
    And yes, I am saying that the nursing home probably couldn’t have prevented this. Again, the best you can do is determine that your new employee doesn’t have a record-you can’t predict future behavior. If a child molester has not yet been caught, for instance, how would a school know they had hired a child molester? Unfortunately, it is impossible to supervise every teacher, nurse, counselor, etc that comes into contact with children and other vulnerable persons every second of the day. At some point the employer needs to trust their employee, and unfortunately, there is nothing to indicate that someone will betray that trust until it has happened, unless they have a record. The only thing the nursing home could do is background checks. This is a three hundred bed facility, you can’t supervise every single contact between an employer and resident. And, as far as this goes, Carolyn fancied herself in love with this man. From what I have read, this is typical of female sex offenders…even the ones who molest children…they have some sort of emotional tie to their victim. They typically don’t go from victim to victim the way that a male sex offender would. Does that mean that Carolyn hadn’t been “in love” with another resident? Well, I can’t answer that question. If she was, and there was more contact, no one is saying anything. And it would only be an issue if the person in question was unable to consent, since she’s already been fired.

  4. I believe the nursing home has a duty to supervise people who visit incompetent and vulnerable residents. That is why most nursing homes have a sign in sheet for visitors. I do not believe an incompetent resident can give the required consent to have sex with an employee even if the employee is off duty.
    She was caught this time but we don’t know how many other times this happened or how many other residents were sexually abused. I think it is foolish to assume that this was the first time.
    I don’t want to argue with you but you seem to be defending the nursing home by saying that the incident was unpreventable, and I believe with proper training, staffing, and supervision, this incident was preventable.

  5. Carolyn was only caught because the police were already there for a disorderly patient, who’s to say the police would have been called if they weren’t there already. I have no idea what would possess her to want to have sexual relations with this man. He didn’t remember anything 10 minutes later when he was questioned by the police. Carolyn has to be a sick individual to take advantage of a disabled man like that. As far as the Somers Manor is concerned here they have to take responsibility for their employees.

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