Chicago nursing home sexual abuse cases go underreported and uninvestigated

Since 2007, one out of every four Chicago nursing homes have reported cases of sexual assault against elderly and disabled residents but there has been only one arrest, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

At least 86 cases of sexual assault or rape have been reported in 30 of the city’s 119 nursing home in the past two-and-a-half years.

State law requires nursing homes to immediately report such instances of Chicago nursing home abuse to authorities. However, The Tribune found no police reports were filed in connection with at least nine alleged sexual attacks reported by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Most of the cases involved residents attacking other residents. Others involved attacks by employees or visitors — the sole case to be prosecuted involved an orderly.

As reported in November
by the Chicago nursing home abuse attorneys at Abels & Annes, the state is scrambling to address a three-part Tribune series detailing the mixing of mentally ill felons with nursing home residents, incomplete background checks, low staffing levels and a breakdown in reporting serious crimes against residents.

Government records show that the 30 Chicago facilities where rapes were reported were about twice as likely to house convicted felons and mentally ill patients.

The Tribune reported that most of the 30 Chicago nursing homes with alleged sexual assaults had substandard staffing levels. In addition to the 48 felony sexual assaults reported at the homes since 2007, another 28 criminal sexual abuse complaints were filed, which can include molestation or groping and can be either a misdemeanor or felony.

With just one arrest among the 48 rape reports, the rate of prosecution for sexual assault in nursing homes falls far below the closure rate for such cases citywide. Last year, Chicago police investigated 1,446 criminal sexual assault reports and made 450 arrests.

Chronic underreporting, lack of communication among state and local investigators and other challenges, including the mental or physical health of the alleged victim or suspect, were all cited as reasons for the lack of successful prosecutions in cases of sexual abuse in Chicago nursing homes.

If you are concerned about the conditions of a nursing home or suspect a case of Illinois nursing home neglect or abuse, contact the Chicago nursing home abuse lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS.