It is impossible to give a specific figure, yet it has become clear to investigators and lawmakers that the country’s elderly are being physically and sexually abused in astounding numbers. Elderly women, in particular, are at risk of being sexually abused by caretakers due to a decrease in their physical and mental capabilities. Meanwhile, nursing homes and care providers are doing little to protect their residents from sexual abuse or to ensure perpetrators are apprehended and prosecuted. Elderly people’s accusations of sexual assault are often dismissed as hallucinations or unbelievable due to medical conditions or side effects of medications. Other times allegations are incredibly difficult to investigate when physician and mental deficiencies make it hard to identify or describe the attacker, even when they are believed. More egregiously, some nursing homes have been found to purposefully turn a blind eye or protect attackers to avoid a scandal.
If you believe your loved one has been sexually abused at a nursing facility, contact a San Francisco elder abuse attorney at Brod Law Firm immediately to ensure your loved one is taken care of, living somewhere safe, and has the ability to seek justice.
California’s Sexual Assault Laws
If your loved one was sexually assaulted, there are multiple crimes the perpetrator may be charged with. When the victim of the crime is an elderly person, the punishment for these sexual offenses are harsher and usually include longer terms of imprisonment. Under California Penal Code §261, a person is guilty of rape if he or she has sexual intercourse when:
- The victim is incapable, due to a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability, of giving legal consent, and this is known or should reasonably be known by the person.
- The victim does not consent, and the perpetrator accomplishes sexual intercourse by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate bodily injury.
- The victim is prevented from resisting by an intoxicating or anesthetic substance.
- The victim is unconscious of the nature of the sexual act and the person knows this.
Penal Code §288 states that a person is guilty of a lewd or lascivious act if he or she willfully or lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act with the intent of arousing or gratifying his or her lust, passions, or sexual desires. This is a public offense and the punishment is greater if the person committed a lewd act against a dependent victim for whom he or she is a caretaker and used force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediately and illegal bodily injury upon the dependent victim.
Other statutes such as Penal Code §289 and §368 make sexual penetration and the causation of physical pain or mental suffering upon an elderly person or dependent adult illegal as well.
Contact a San Francisco Elder Abuse Lawyer Today
If you believe your elderly loved one has been sexually abused at a nursing home or by a caretaker, contact the police to file a report and call the Brod Law Firm to speak with an experienced elder abuse lawyer. In addition to these criminal offenses that can be brought against sexual abusers, elderly victims may have a right to file personal injury claims against the offenders and receive damages, including medical expenses and pain and suffering. Attorney Greg Brod will help you ensure your loved one receives safe and proper care and will explain your loved one’s rights to recover through a civil suit.
Contact Brod Law Firm at (800) 427-7020 to schedule a free consultation.