August 25th, 2010
A former nursing homer worker in Albert Lea, Minnesota has pleaded guilt to physically and sexually abusing nursing home residents. The woman’s plea of guilty covers gross-misdemeanor disorderly conduct involving three victims.
In 2008, the woman was part of a group of six high school friends working at the Good Samaritan nursing home. The six friends were accused of abusing or not reporting the abuse of patients with dementia. The group performed humiliating abuse against the patients apparently to entertain themselves at work.
Gaining widespread publicity in 2008, this nursing home abuse case was important in breaking down stereotypes about abusers, as well helping to increase training for nursing home workers to better recognize and report nursing home abuse and nursing home neglect.
“[The case has] toppled stereotypes about who sexual abusers might be, with appealing yearbook pictures instead of menacing mug shots of scruffy men,” said Iris Freeman, director of the Vulnerable Adult Justice Project at the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul. “But I think the more important issue is how well–or not well–nursing facilities are supervising people who care for vulnerable adults,” said Freeman.
Many of the family members of the victims have started a group called Families Against Nursing Home Abuse to advocate for long-term care reform.