The California Department of Public Health, CDPH, utterly failed to protect vulnerable nursing home residents in the San Diego area. The CDPH is the state agency responsible for protecting nursing home residents from abuse, including sexual assault. Despite multiple reports of a certified nursing assistant committing sexual assault at San Diego nursing homes, the CDPH allowed the perpetrated of nursing home abuse to job-hop from one skilled care facility to another for years.
Certified nursing assistant Matthew Fluckiger was reported to authorities, including the CDPH, on at least four separate instances between March 2017 and January 2020. Despite the CDPH launching what it called an “investigation” into the nursing home abuse and sexual assault repeatedly perpetrated by Fluckiger, the CNA was not only permitted by the state to keep working in nursing homes but was permitted to go from one center to another after his employment was terminated at a location for his grave, violent misconduct.
The January 2020 case involved a 62-year-old woman at a La Mesa nursing care facility. Fluckiger raped the frail nursing home resident twice in the course of an hour. According to the victim, following the repeated sexual assault, the violent perpetrator told the woman “I know where you and your family live, so trust me, I know you’re not going to say anything. Even if you do, no one will believe you, they love me here.”
Whether or not his colleagues or supervisors at the nursing home “loved” Fluckiger, he was making a point. Even after nearly three years of the CDHP knew of Fluckiger’s sexual victimization of nursing home residents, the agency had taken no action against the man.
Although the sexual assaults said to have been perpetrated at multiple nursing homes were reported, the reality is that nursing home sexual abuse oftentimes goes unreported. Indeed, in this situation, there likely are sexual assaults perpetrated by Fluckiger that have not been reported.
Frail female residents, including those with dementia, are the most frequent victims of nursing home sexual assault. These are precisely the residents that are most likely not to report their victimization.
An analysis of a three-year period of time revealed that over 1,000 nursing homes were cited for sexual abuse. This included nearly 100 facilities that received multiple citations. There is no way of really knowing the rate of sexual abuse at nursing homes that was not reported during this time period. Experts in nursing home care believe that a considerable number of facilities experienced cases of resident sexual assault during that time period that never were reported to authorities.
Steps to Take if You Believe a Loved One is a Victim of Nursing Home Abuse
If you believe a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, including nursing home sexual assault, the National Center on Elder Abuse recommends taking these steps:
- Call 911 or the local police department
- Contact adult protective services
- Contact the state agency responsible for licensing and supervising nursing homes in your state
Having made note of the need to contact state licensing authorities, as has been discussed previously, that step may prove fruitless. For this reason, if you suspect a loved one is the victim of nursing home abuse, including nursing home sexual assault, you can also contact the legal team at The Doan Law Firm.
The Doan Law Firm is a nationwide legal practice, with 40 offices located from coast to coast across the United States. You can reach us at (800) 349-0000 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including on all major holidays. We can schedule a consultation with an experienced, compassionate nursing home abuse lawyer any time convenient for you. We can schedule an appointment at any one of our offices or at any other location that works for you. In addition, we can arrange a virtual consultation with a Doan Law Firm nursing home abuse lawyer online.
The Doan Law Firm never charges a fee for an initial consultation. In fact, The Doan Law Firm never charges an attorney fee unless we win your case for you. Our firm is committed to fighting tirelessly to win big for you.