The family members of an elderly woman, who was allegedly raped and sodomised at a nursing home in Missouri multiple times during her residency, have filed a $1bn suit against the nursing home.
According to the children of 84-year-old Delores Green, their mother was repeatedly sexually assaulted at the Christian Care Home in Ferguson where she had been staying for the last eight years.
The discovery came about when Green’s daughter, Colette, discovered bruising around the rectum and vaginal areas while giving her mother a bath in August 2018. She raised concern at the nursing home but nothing was done to address the issue. She then took her mother to a hospital where doctors confirmed that Green had been repeatedly sexually assaulted, according to KMOV.
“They failed her, they failed my mother, they failed her totally,” said Colette.
According to the family, Green suffers from a condition that causes her arms and legs to draw up as well as Alzheimer’s, which made it difficult for her to defend herself or to tell anybody else of what was happening to her.
“When I found out what happened to my mother I was shocked and I was traumatized,” Kyle, Green’s son, said.
He added: “She could not talk, she could not walk, she could not holler or scream at whoever did this.”
The Greens reported the matter to Ferguson’s police, who have opened an investigation. According to the Associated Press, a possible suspect who is also a resident at the home has been identified. Charges are yet to be filed because lab results are still pending.
Green has already been moved to a different nursing home and the family has hired a legal team led by attorneys Willie Gary of Gary, Williams, Parenti, Watson and Gary and Richard Banks, of Banks & Associates.
“Raped, sodomized. And no telling when it started or how long it’s been going on. But we know one thing, it has to stop,” said attorney Gary.
The legal team is hoping that the size of the lawsuit would be a wake-up call to nursing homes that neglect clients.
“Unfortunately the system has failed and it’s not just in Miss Green’s case. The system’s failed a number of times across the country, and these are the people, the voiceless,” said attorney Banks.
The lawsuit claims that the nursing home was negligent in the care of Green by failing to train staff and properly supervising the residents.
“[Colette] and her family have been grappling with the shock over her mother’s brutal assault. Struggling to understand how the Christian-focused facility they trusted with the care of their mother could have allowed her to be brutalized over and over and over again,” the suit states.
The incident has caused nation-wide reactions, with Missouri’s state Rep. Courtney Curtis calling for an immediate and complete review of the policies and practices of the home.
There has been no response by the administrator or staff of the home.
It is not the first time for the Christian Care Home to come under scrutiny. According to the Post Dispatch, the home has been flagged for failing to report and investigate abuse of residents as well as for hiring people with a history of abuse. It was also fined $78,000 by Medicare after the state discovered that a nurse had slapped a resident who had dementia.
America has a National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System, designed and launched in 2015 to collect and centralise data on elderly abuse. According to the system, 49 states and territories reported opening investigations for 728,049 clients in 2016. It also highlighted that sexual assault was one of the most commonly reported abuses of elderly people.
In Missouri, 128 known cases of elder sexual abuse and assault were reported but only 20 ended in convictions prompting a change in the law in 2018 that would make it mandatory for all nursing homes to report all sexual abuse and assault cases to law enforcement.