Sexual Abuse of the Elderly a Shocking Reality

Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes is Rarely Discussed, But Nevertheless a Reality

Sexual abuse of the elderly is rarely discussed and one of the most underreported crimes in the US. A New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study showed that for every case known to agencies, twenty-four were unknown. This terrible crime goes largely unreported because the victims might feel ashamed, fear retaliation or lack the cognitive ability to report. Victims often doubt anyone will believe them and simply see no sense in telling. One of the challenges of elder sexual abuse is that it is usually denied by the one who committed it, and forensic evidence is sometimes destroyed or lost.

Some of the victims, however, do report assault to their nursing homes, and in some cases only to undergo more embarrassment and bad treatment. Such was the case of an 89-year-old rape victim.

Andrew Scott Merzwski was sentenced in February 2014 to fifty-three months in jail for the sexual assault of the elderly woman in Edgewood Vista Nursing Home. Merzwski admitted having sex with the lady. Another upsetting incident is that the Edgewood’s clinical services director Marilyn Moore alleged the sexual deed was consensual, and the elderly flirted mercilessly with Merzwski.

Nurse examiner Theresa Flesvig said that she was shocked that the blame was being placed so blatantly on the victim. When Flesvig performed a full rape examination on the elderly, she found the biggest tear she has ever seen. Shortly after the victim’s daughter reported the assault to the police, the woman was transferred to a hospital in Duluth. She was locked up in a cold and dark room with one blanket for three days at the fragile age of 89.

Sexual Abuse is a Reality

According to a congressional report prepared by the minority staff of the Special Investigations Division of the House Government Reform Committee, there were cases of sexual abuse committed by staff members and by other residents. Sexual assault or rape could occur from another resident suffering from dementia. The report stated that some staff members failed to protect people from sexual abuse by other residents.

Another disturbing incident took place on November 24, 2013, at Amber Park Nursing Home on E. Galbraith Road. Samuel Onyenweaku, 22-year-old man of West Chester, penetrated a 92-year-old woman and was charged with felonious assault, rape and patient abuse. When a nurse unlocked the door of the victim just before 5 a.m., she found the victim lying in bed with her nightgown pulled up. The elderly was not wearing any undergarments at the time. The nurse stated that there was men’s clothing on the floor, and she found the accused in the woman’s private bathroom. The victim was admitted at the UC Medical Center, and Onyenweaku was arrested and has been held in the Hamilton County Justice Center.

Nursing assistant Nanic Aidasani of Yonkers was charged with rape at Manhattanville Health Care Center at 311 W. 231st Street, Kingsbridge, Bronx. Another employer at the nursing home found Aidasani raping a 64-year-old woman in her room at the nursing home. The victim is unable to speak because of a stroke, and it is expected that Aidasani will be charged with second degree rape against the woman who was incapable of giving consent.

On May 7, 2014, a certified nursing assistant of 84 Main Street, Great Barrington, was charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery and two counts of rape. Parkpoom Seesangrit raped a 69-year-old woman. According to Sergeant Patrick Manley, the 24-year-old accused was found in a room with the victim under inappropriate circumstances. The defendant was requested to surrender his passport and is currently held in place of $500, 000 cash. Seesangrit is ordered to appear in Palmer District Court.

Signs of Sexual Abuse

Even a broken limb should not be overlooked if it occurred under suspicious circumstances. Older people are also more likely to suffer soft-tissue injury. Physical signs of sexual abuse include lack of appetite, anal or venereal bleeding and/or marks on inner thighs, infections, pain in the genital area, difficulty standing or walking and sometimes the worsening of an existing illness. Research indicates that people suffering dementia are at greater risk of sexual abuse than those without.

Our Elderly Deserves Our Care and Respect

The elderly deserve to be treated with care and respect. Unfortunately, often staff members at nursing homes earn minimum wages and they go from one job to the next. Some nursing homes also fail to properly screen potential employees. The employee may have a history of sexual abuse.

There are 17,000 nursing homes nationwide, accommodating around 1.6 million people. CNN reports that more than ninety percent of all nursing-home facilities in the United States are understaffed. One out of every three nursing homes reported elderly abuse. Three percent of nursing home abuse involved sexual abuse. Trying to find a healthcare facility that keeps old people’s dignity intact can be quite a challenge.

Recent News

See What's Happening

  • 6 Ways to Lose a Dog Bite Insurance Claim

    6 Ways to Lose a Dog Bite Insurance Claim

    Insurance companies place unreasonable obstacles before injured victims. Let our dog bite lawyers move them. Dogs may be man’s best friend, but that doesn’t...
  • What is a Premises Liability Injury Case?

    What is a Premises Liability Injury Case?

    You may be able to win thousands of dollars in damages if you are injured on someone else’s property, such as slipping down a...
  • Rental Car Accident Claims & Insurance Tips

    Rental Car Accident Claims & Insurance Tips

    Millions of car accident injuries and 40,000 fatalities each year…and counting. Being in a car accident — or having a family member injured or...
  • When Should You Hire a Lawyer?

    When Should You Hire a Lawyer?

    Suffering a life-changing injury or losing a family member can be unfair and expensive. It’s also a good time to lawyer up. The St....
  • 100,000 Work Zone Accidents Per Year

    100,000 Work Zone Accidents Per Year

    Did you know there are more than 87,000 car accidents in construction zones every year? While the fatality rate is low, roadways under construction...
  • Motorcycle Fatalities Surge in 2018

    Motorcycle Fatalities Surge in 2018

    You are 29 times more likely to die in a motorcycle accident than a car wreck, totaling to about 5,000 fatalities per year. The...

Meet Christopher R. Dixon

Legal & Injury Representation St. Louis Deserves.

Results — that's what clients expect from Dixon Injury Firm. Chris brings years of personal injury law experience to the table. Based in St. Louis, his firm provides free consultations and contingency service to the high-caliber injury and liability legal arena. Tell us about your case and we'll show you how to win.

Recent Successes

  • Policy Limits Settlement

    Missouri Truck Accident

    $30,000.00 Settlement

    Missouri Car Crash With Minor Property Damage

  • $40,000 Settlement

    Missouri Low Impact Automobile Accident

    $40,000 Settlement

    Missouri Dog Bite

  • $45,000 Settlement

    Missouri Dog Bite

    $50,000 Settlement

    Missouri Auto Accident

  • $50,000 Settlement

    Missouri Car Accident Crash

    $65,000 Settlement

    Missouri Pedestrian Accident

Get The Representation You Need Today!

Reach out to Chris Dixon for personal injury, workers compensation, product liability, and other legal services for experienced, reliable counsel and representation in St. Louis.

Contact Us Today

Schedule a


Submit Your
Case Details


Have Questions?

We are available to chat live with you 24 / 7 if you have questions about your potential case.

Chat Live
No Thanks