A preliminary hearing was recently held for a man accused of breaking into Balboa Nursing and Rehab Center nursing home and sexually assaulting an 88-year-old patient.  During the testimony, Defendant Lusean Arline kept his head down in shame.  Prosecutors said that days after being released from jail on a drug charge, 49-year-old Arline snuck into Balboa Nursing and Rehab through an unlocked door after dark and was found completely nude on top of the victim. Arline has a prior conviction from 2017 for following two elderly women home to their apartment and exposing himself to the victims.

He is accused of breaking in during the early morning hours of Oct. 27 and entering a room shared by patients.  Arline was arrested about a week after the alleged assault. San Diego Police say DNA from the victim’s body was put into a federal DNA database and Arline was a match.

The roommate of the 88-year-old victim told the court she saw a man in their room. The roommate, who is being referred to as “Louise”, said the man was naked and on top of the victim.  “Louise,” said she screamed for help and when employees ran into the room the suspect took off running.

The victim’s daughter said she received a call on Oct. 27 from the facility saying her mother was at Scripps Mercy Hospital. When she arrived at the hospital, she noticed her mother’s arm was broken and she was emotional.

“She cried out to me, ‘Am I dreaming?’ I said mom do you think you’re having a dream, she said, ‘I had a terrible nightmare.'” the victim’s daughter said.

The victim’s daughter went on to testify that since the assault her mother is agitated and withdrawn.

He is facing charges of sexual assault, burglary, and elderly abuse.

 

Syracuse police arrested a certified nurse aide Nov. 25 after conducting a lengthy investigation into allegations that Cania Williams slapped a 90-year-old resident in the face with a wet cloth, injuring and bruising the elderly woman. The incident occurred on Oct. 19 at Bishop Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.

Williams was charged with endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person in the second degree, a class A misdemeanor, and harassment in the second degree, a violation. The injuries were not severe enough to charge Williams with assault.

If convicted of the misdemeanor charge, Williams could be sentenced to up to a year in prison, three years of probation and a substantial fine.

Two other employees who may have known of the incident were suspended when Bishop began its investigation and have since returned to work, according to Newman.

In the wake of the incident Newman said the nursing home has re-educated employees on abuse reporting, identifying abuse, resident rights and handling residents with dementia.

The news of people abusing nursing home residents are especially tough around the Holidays when I’m trying to get into the festive mood.  Recently, I read about a young woman named Berianne Smith who was arrested over the weekend, with police saying she attacked a patient, twisting the woman’s breasts and nipples.  Smith is a certified nurse aide at Allied Services Meade Street Skilled Nursing.

Smith was charged abuse of care of a dependent person, simple assault and harassment, after city police responded to reports of the assault. A co-worker, Lawrence VanBuren-Morgan, told police he heard the female patient “screaming at the top of her lungs as if she was being attacked or in a fight.”  VanBuren-Morgan said he hurried to her room, where he said he saw Smith “grabbing and twisting at (the victim’s) breast.” VanBuren-Morgan said he heard the patient yelling that Smith was twisting her nipples.

A short time later, VanBuren-Morgan said he saw Smith return to the room, and he once again heard the patient screaming. He returned again to find the woman’s nose was bleeding, claiming Smith had hit her.

The alleged victim was taken to the hospital, where she was treated for multiple bruises and swelling.

 

Karen Paredes-Luquin is a nursing assistant at Auburn Oaks Care Center nursing home facing multiple charges of felony fraud involving elders she cared for, according to the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.  Paredes-Luquin was caught on surveillance video Nov. 22 using stolen credit cards belonging to two residents.

Authorities received reports of the fraud from the nursing home and found video at the locations the credit cards were used. One of the videos shows Paredes-Luquin wearing nursing scrubs and a surgical mask while making the purchases, which made the cashier serving her suspicious, according to officials. The cashier followed Paredes-Luquin and wrote down her vehicle information. The cashier was able to provide that information to investigators, who then used it to identify Paredes-Luquin.

Detectives arrested Paredes-Luquin when she arrived at work and charged her with multiple counts of felony fraud. She has since posted $100,000 bail and was released from custody.

 

When managers and owners of Symphony Residences nursing home discovered employees had stolen more than $700,000 from a 98-year-old resident who has Alzheimer’s disease, they didn’t fire them or go to authorities — they sought to cover it up, according to a lawsuit.  The Cook County public guardian’s office filed a 335-page complaint seeking monetary damages for four entities that own Symphony Residences, several managers and the five employees accused of stealing Grace Watanabe’s life savings.  The lawsuit alleges Cruz and other nursing home executives discovered the theft and failed to report it to law enforcement.

Bank regulators noticed irregularities and brought the case to the attention of authorities.

The lawsuit accuses nursing home executives of locking Watanabe in an office to keep county social workers from moving her to another nursing home. Word of the standoff got back to authorities who dispatched Dawn Lawkowski-Keller, an attorney who works in the financial recovery unit. After a shouting match, Lawkowski-Keller boiled it down for Symphony Executive Director Erika Cruz: “You have 5 minutes or we’re calling the cops.”  Cruz finally freed Watanabe.

An investigation later concluded that five nursing home employees used Watanabe as their personal piggy bank — draining her life savings through a series of ATM withdrawals, forged checks and other payments.  Two of the five employees accused in the civil suit of stealing from Watanabe have been charged criminally with financial exploitation of an elderly person.

A separate civil suit filed seeking information from Symphony is stalled while company executives appeal a September court order compelling them to testify. They are being fined $400 for every day they defy the order and remain silent.

Watanabe was born in Santa Cruz, California, in 1921 and was held in the Poston internment camp from 1942 to 1946. After her release, she earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

 

The Gowanda Rehabilitation & Nursing Center was fined $10,000 after mishandling the sexual assault of a patient. According to investigators, numerous deficiencies were discovered related to the prevention and investigation of the incident.

According to a report compiled by the New York State Department of Health, a male resident was found with his pants down, on top of a female resident in the early hours of May 29, 2019.  The female resident could be heard saying, “no, no” before staffers intervened. The female resident suffers from “severe cognitive impairment.” The male resident who carried out the sexual assault is said to suffer from, “moderate cognitive impairment” and who, according to the report, “knew what he was doing but not with who. He was confused.”

In the subsequent hours, state investigators say the facility did not take proper steps to preserve or document potential evidence. The staffers denied at first that a sexual assault actually occurred. An examination several hours later at a nearby Emergency Room revealed physical evidence proving an assault had occurred.

 

Nursing homes provide care to about 1.4 million nursing home residents—a vulnerable population of elderly and disabled individuals. CMS, an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), defines standards nursing homes must meet to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is responsible for ensuring nursing homes meet federal quality standards, including that residents are free from abuse. To protect vulnerable nursing home residents from abuse, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) contracts with state agencies—known as survey agencies—that can cite nursing homes for incidents of abuse.  Most are overworked and without adequate budgets and support for enforcement.

Abuse citations doubled from 2013-2017. GAO recently reviewed a 2016-2017 sample of narratives substantiating abuse citations and determined that physical and mental/verbal abuse were more common than sexual abuse, and that perpetrators were often staff.

CMS can’t readily access this information, which it could use to improve its oversight by focusing on the most prevalent problems. GAO recommendations address this and other issues GAO found.

Nursing Home Abuse by Type and Perpetrator among the Sample of Narratives in Our Review

Bar chart showing physical and mental/verbal abuse and staff perpetrators most common

GAO also found gaps in CMS oversight, including:

Gaps in CMS processes that can result in delayed and missed referrals. Federal law requires nursing home staff to immediately report to law enforcement and the state survey agency reasonable suspicions of a crime that results in serious bodily injury to a resident. However, there is no equivalent requirement that the state survey agency make a timely referral for complaints it receives directly or through surveys it conducts. CMS also does not conduct oversight to ensure that state survey agencies are correctly referring abuse cases to law enforcement.

Insufficient information collected on facility-reported incidents. CMS has not issued guidance on what nursing homes should include when they self-report abuse incidents to the state survey agencies. Officials from all of the state survey agencies in GAO’s review said the facility-reported incidents can lack information needed to prioritize investigations and may result in state survey agencies not responding as quickly as needed.

The death of an elderly man who fought with his Brooklyn nursing home roommate over a pair of pants has been declared a homicide.  First responders were called to the Crown Heights Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation about 3:15 p.m. on Aug. 10 after the staff failed to supervise and prevent Eitel Vargas from brawling with his roommate.

Nursing home staffers called 911 but the injuries were too severe. Vargas died three days later at Kings County Hospital, police said. The city Medical Examiner declared his death a homicide. The assault exacerbated the heart condition, which led to his death, officials said.

Vargas’ death remains under police investigation, said an NYPD spokesman who added that the department was never told of the fight.

The state Department of Health is also investigating.

“The New York State Department of Health takes these disturbing allegations with the utmost seriousness,” DOH spokesman Jeffrey Hammond said. “Upon learning of this incident, we immediately opened an investigation. As this is an ongoing investigation we cannot comment further.”

Nursing homes are required to report any incidents of assault and sexual abuse at their facilities to the state, and are required to identify residents whose personal histories put them at risk for abusing other residents, according to federal rules.

Vargas’ roommate still lives at the nursing home and has not been criminally charged, staffers said.
Relatives of nursing home residents were stunned by the news and said they were never told of the fatal fight.

“I wish I’d have known,” said one woman who was visiting her husband. “I’m not saying I would move (my husband), but I might have been more vigilant (about) his roommates and who’s up and down the hallway.”

A registered sex offender named Olander Grant was arrested for sexually assaulting a woman who has an intellectual disability at Brentwood Place nursing home in Dallas, police say.  Grant is 59 and was booked on one count of aggravated sexual assault. He remained in custody Tuesday, with bail set at $100,000.  Officers were called to Brentwood Place, a 450-bed nursing and rehabilitation facility after a sexual assault was reported.

How did a registered sex offender gain access?  Where was the staff?  How long had he been doing this? Outrageous.

WTKR reported on the issue of sexual assaults in nursing homes.  The problem has been there since the beginning of institutional care but it has significantly increased in the last couple of years.  Many experts and consumer advocates question whether nursing homes that have demented and vulnerable adults attract sexual predators or if the failure to supervise and monitor employees allow for such assaults to occur regularly.  There were several cases in 2018 of medical staff accused of patient abuse in nursing homes and hospitals, and a 2017 CNN report found the federal government had cited more than 1,000 nursing homes for failing to prevent sex abuse at their facilities or mishandling the reports.

The article on WTKR has many tragic examples which illustrate a troubling concern for patients and families involved with medical facilities: Staff who may take advantage sexually of the weak and most vulnerable, regardless of age.

“I’ve wondered if nursing home care draws that particular type of predator,” said Dominique Penson, a partner at the law firm Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson.  Penson believes many of these abuses happen on overnight shifts and early morning hours.

“I think it’s pervasive,” Penson said of alleged abuse in nursing homes and other medical facilities.

“I don’t think there’s any question it’s pervasive.”

“Unfortunately, it could be a physician, it could be some sort of health care professional, it could be maintenance,” forensic psychologist Dr. NG Berrill said of the staff who have access to patients.

Psychologist Dr. Patrick Suraci said this kind of sexual activity is like a fetish that stops just short of necrophilia, sex with dead people.

“In this case, what these men are doing, it’s a minor form (of necrophilia) because they will have sex with a living body, but also one that cannot respond. So, they have complete control over this body.”

“And this is exciting to them,” Berrill said.

“It’s sort of an issue of power and it probably fulfills some sort of morbid fantasy.”

In New York City, Dr. David Newman, once an emergency room doctor at Mount Sinai Hospital, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing four female patients.

One of the women said he immobilized her with the anesthetic Propofol and ejaculated on her chest. She was able to preserve DNA evidence.

Newman pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in state prison.