An elderly woman was sexually attacked at a Yorba Linda nursing home and Orange County investigators say there could have been more incidents. According to a news article in The Orange County Register, administrators at the Emeritus Senior Living center are maintaining that the incident was isolated. But police are deeply concerned that there could be other victims, possibly even outside the facility, given the “brazen nature of the crime.”
Authorities have charged David Moreno, 28, with sexually assaulting a 69-year-old disabled woman at the nursing home. Moreno, a maintenance worker at the facility, had access to residents’ rooms because of the nature of his job. Police say the incident occurred between June 1 and July 24 of 2012.
Background Checks of Nursing Home Employees
Moreno took advantage of the fact that the victim had dementia, police said. Officials were able to get physical evidence from the scene, which linked them to the suspect. Emeritus administrators say they checked Moreno’s background before hiring him and are continuing an internal review of the situation. Moreno has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Nursing homes are required to conduct thorough background checks before hiring people to work in their facilities. Between 2005 and 2006, several states, including California, Illinois, Minnesota and Oklahoma, passed laws requiring that long-term care homes receive notice about sex offenders who are admitted to their facilities. According to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report in 2006, at least 700 registered sex offenders live in nursing homes and care facilities across the country.
Nursing homes have a duty and a legal obligation to protect their residents. In this case, a defenseless, disabled, elderly woman was sexually assaulted by an employee. How did this happen? There are a number of questions that must be asked. What types of security systems did the nursing home have in place? Were there surveillance cameras? Are employees regularly supervised in the facility?
In cases where negligence is involved, families of nursing home abuse victims can seek compensation by filing a lawsuit against the facility. Victims or their families would also be well advised to contact an experienced Orange County nursing home abuse lawyer who will fight for their rights and make sure that the negligent parties are held liable.