Abuse of an Elderly Person

In a recent investigation by CNN, the stories of rape and abuse that six elderly nursing home women experienced were revealed. One Waynesville, North Carolina woman was raped in her bathroom by a nursing assistant. After the nurse helped her into her bathroom one evening, “He pulled my nightgown up and proceeded to rape me,” the woman explained. “I told him to stop, then I gave my excuse, ‘My roommate is going to be coming in my room any moment,’ and he stopped.” The nursing assistant has suspended shortly after, though the victim was not made aware of that information and continued to live in fear that he would show up at any moment. One reason that some perpetrators target the elderly is because of the perception that all older people are mentally or physically incapable of fighting back. However, the Waynesville woman said that he messed with the wrong person, and that “I definitely have my wits about me.” Other offenses that the elderly are subjected to include physical abuse, aggravated abuse, and neglect. While rape, or sexual battery, is punishable similarly no matter the victim’s age (if the victim is not a minor), abuse and aggravated abuse carry a heavier penalty when the victim is elderly.

Abuse, Aggravated Abuse, and Neglect of an Elderly Person or Disabled Adult

Knowingly or willfully abusing an elderly person or disabled adult, and not causing great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. The following offenses constitute abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult:

  • Intentionally causing a physical or psychological injury to an elderly person or disabled adult;
  • Acting in an intentional manner that could reasonably be expected to cause a physical or psychological injury to an elderly person or disabled adult; and
  • Actively encouraging any person to commit an abusive act that could reasonably be expected to cause physical or psychological injury of an elderly or disabled adult.

Aggravated abuse of an elderly person or disabled adult, which is a first-degree felony and punishable by up to 30 years in prison, is defined as:

  • Battery;
  • Willful torture, maliciously punishment, or willful and unlawful detention;
  • Willfully or knowingly abusing and causing permanent disfigurement, great bodily harm, or permanent disability.

Neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult is somewhat vaguer than abuse or aggravated abuse. Neglect can be described as a caregiver’s failure in performing their duty to give the care that their patrons require. This neglect can be described as an omission or failure to provide care or their failure of an effort to provide that care. When the older person or disabled adult in their care suffers great bodily harm, the offense is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. If the victim suffers no injury, the offense is a third-degree felony.

Call The Skier Law Firm Today

If you have been charged with any type of abuse or neglect of an elderly person or disabled adult, call the West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of the Skier Law Firm today at (561) 820-1508. We are prepared to help you immediately.



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