The Buffalo News reported a horrific story of sexual assault and a cover-up that many nursing home abuse and neglect lawyers like myself see far too often.  After finding a female resident being sexually assaulted by another resident, the caregivers failed to call police for more than six hours and destroyed evidence, the state Health Department has determined.

A certified nursing assistant heard the victim in her room saying, “No, no,” at around 4:30 a.m. May 29 and found a 73-year-old male resident on top of the woman in her bed, with his pants around his ankles, according to a Gowanda Police Department report. The woman’s gown was over her head, and her underwear was partially off.  Videotape footage shows the assailant was alone in her room for over 37 minutes.

The nursing home was the Gowanda Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and the family asserts that its negligence allowed the assault to occur and failed to prevent it.  The staff did not secure the woman’s underwear, clothing or sheets as evidence, according to the agency.

The female resident has “severe cognitive impairment,” and is unable to get out of bed without the help of a mechanical lift.

A staff member wrote in a statement to police that the man “knew what he was doing, but I don’t think he knew with who. He seemed confused.”

When a staff member checked on the woman around 8 a.m.,  the woman was reaching toward her pelvic area while saying, “Ugh, ugh, get it off!”

Shortly before 10 a.m., a physician assistant examined the woman and determined that she “was the victim of sexual assault and sent to the hospital for a sexual assault assessment,” according to the Health Department report.

The nursing home called an ambulance at around 10:11 a.m., according to a police report, and then called police 25 minutes later, according to the report.


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