Screening for nursing home sex offenders may be needed to protect residents

Donald Saiontz

By Donald Saiontz
Posted June 24, 2007


Those living at a Pennsylvania nursing home were in shock last week when they found out that they have been living with a convicted sex offender, and they were never warned.  Unfortunately, assaults and sexual abuse in nursing homes are not that uncommon, and many facilities do not do much to protect their residents by performing background checks to identify those who may pose a danger.

>>INFORMATION: Nursing Home Abuse and Sexual Assault

Valley Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Springfield, Pennsylvania, which has about 180 beds, does not perform any background checks or security screening for their residents, so they were unaware that a 47 year old male resident was a convicted sex offender who could pose a danger to other residents.  He was convicted in 2000 for sexually assaulting a 38 year old stranger, and the State of New York classified him as a level-three sex offender, which means that they believed he was a threat to public safety and had a high risk of repeat-offending. 

The facility’s administrators took him into the nursing home and placed him among other residents with no warning about the danger he may pose or increased supervision to reduce the risk of assault or abuse.  After he was at the nursing home for six months, they learned of his past when police did a background search following an incident where he grabbed the breast of a female resident and charged toward another resident when they protested.

Although there are currently not special laws or regulations in most states requiring screening for nursing home sex offenders among the residents, nursing homes are supposed to be safe places where the elderly and ill can be properly cared for.  Employee background checks are currently required, as there have been many instances of staff members assaulted or sexual abused residents in a nursing home.  Failing to perform background screening for other residents could create just as large of a risk as hiring an employee with a violent criminal history.


If you, a friend or family member have suffered an injury in a nursing home as a result of abuse, assault or neglect, compensation may be available.  Request a free consultation to have your claim reviewed by one of our nursing home lawyers.


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