Elder Sexual Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against California Nursing Home Following Death of 93-Year-Old Woman
June 2, 2014
A sexual abuse case has emerged from a Bakersfield, California nursing home following the death of a 93-year-old woman in May 2013.
Ivan Bonds had been a resident of Evergreen Arvin Healthcare since 2001. The elderly woman was sexually abused so severely that she died from her injuries.
When Bonds’ granddaughter Angela Jourdan, who along with Bonds’ other granddaughter Patricia Holcomb is suing the Evergreen facility and its parent company, received a phone call from a Bakersfield hospital nothing could have prepared her for what she was about to hear.
Bonds was found in a pool of her own blood. She had been assaulted six hours earlier. She was immediately taken to hospital where surgeons stitched up a laceration on her genital region. Doctors determined that the cut was caused by rape. A pool of blood had accumulated in her vaginal canal which had begun to clot. Evergreen staff claimed that the injuries were sustained from Bonds scratching herself. Two weeks later she died at home.
The facility was fined $20,000 by the California Department of Public Health who investigated the incident. It emerged that the attacker was one of the facility’s certified male nursing assistants although his name has not been released. Bonds’ granddaughters claim that Evergreen staff knew that the man was a sexual predator but failed to do anything about it.
When in the home Bonds needed round the clock support from facility staff as she was unable to speak or get around independently. She was completely vulnerable and needed their day-to-day support and care. Disturbingly, ongoing investigations conducted by Arvin Police have discovered that there may be multiple residents who have also been abused.
The lawsuit filed claims that the Evergreen facility did not handle the situation properly. The home has a poor rating from the California nursing home website and a string of unreported abuse allegations. California law states that if there is misconduct, abusive or inappropriate behaviour then a nursing home must immediately report the allegations to a police department. That did not happen.
Sexual abuse of the elderly is one of the most heinous and dangerously underreported crimes that come out of U.S. nursing homes. Often difficult for victims to discuss or admit what has happened, it can also be hard to spot the signs of sexual abuse. Due to illness some elderly victims are unable to speak out against their abusers or in many cases they are intimidated into keeping quiet. Some of the signs to look out for can include bruising or handprints on the body, blood stains or bleeding, unusual fear or anxiety, depression and withdrawal.
If you suspect that your elderly relative or loved one is being sexually abused then it is important to contact the authorities immediately so that the situation is properly investigated. It is just as important to then seek out legal advice from a dedicated sexual or elder abuse lawyer who can guide you through the next steps.
McIver Brown Nursing Home Law Firm has successfully represented victims of sexual abuse, molestation and rape in nursing homes, hospitals and long-term care facilities. The team members and attorneys understand the sensitive nature of these types of cases and are here to ensure that victims and their families get the support that they need.