I’ll be the first to champion for caregivers, but I’ll also be just as determined to defend those who are assaulted by abusive caregivers.
Back in February, I wrote a post about a CNN special investigation, which uncovered an epidemic of sexual assaults taking place in America’s nursing homes. In most cases, due to the victim often being cognitively impaired or too physically frail to testify, the accused were never convicted of their alleged crimes.
Now, one of those caregivers, Luis Gomez, has been convicted on multiple counts of rape, and sentenced to at least 23 years in prison.
For the record, Gomez maintains his innocence. But the testimony of two nursing home residents, one who came to court with two oxygen tanks, and described the sexual assaults that Gomez inflicted upon them, was enough to convict the man who had long been accused of such crimes but had avoided prosecution.
Not only were the two victims who testified in court heroes, so was a nurse, who, against orders from her boss, decided to call police about the assault accusations. That prompted an investigation which led to charges and eventually a conviction. Krista Shalda was fired her nursing job at the facility where the assaults took place after she called police. She told CNN that she will likely be blacklisted from working in nursing homes, because they don’t like whistleblowers.
While it is a relief to know that one sexual predator has been removed from preying upon helpless patients, we know from CNN’s investigation that there are many more like him still working in nursing home facilities. I can only hope that Gomez’s conviction and the hefty fine that the nursing home paid will make other facilities take note. Stricter background checks needs to be implemented, and all patient complaints about staff members should be investigated rigorously.