The technological advances of the Internet age have changed modern society. The Internet brings significant benefits to our lives, whether professionally, personally, or both. However, it has also created a platform by which thousands of individuals can abuse, bully, and harass others without the personal conflict of face-to-face confrontation. Unfortunately, Internet abuse has added significantly to the epidemic of elder abuse in the United States; according to ProPublica, across the country there have been at least 18 cases of nursing home abuse that involved an employee taking pornographic videos or pictures of residents and posting them online or sending them to friends via Snapchat.
Recent Events Show this Disturbing Practice is On the Rise
Since ProPublica began tracking these types of cases in 2012, there have been 65 across the country, with countless thousands likely being unreported. As with all varieties of elder abuse, the vast majority go unreported to employers, law enforcement, and attorneys. The most common method for taking obscene and pornographic images of senior citizen nursing home residents is Snapchat, a social media provider that deletes photos within seconds after the intended recipient views them. The record of the photo is also erased in seconds, making it incredibly difficult to track down the perpetrators of these crimes. Other social media sites that employees have used include Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Employees also simply text, private message, or email such photos to coworkers and friends. The prevalence of these demeaning photos has been increasing rapidly in the last year alone. Recent incidents include:
- A nursing home employee took a photo of himself palming, in his hand, a bowel movement with the resident’s buttocks visible. Three other employees received the image and did not report it, and one of them later claimed that “it did not cross her mind that it was wrong to take a photo and send it out on Snapchat;”
- A Florida employee took a clandestine video of two residents engaged in sex and posted it to Snapchat; and
- A Wisconsin employee snapped a photo of a resident’s inner thighs and genitalia and sent it to a former coworker with the caption, “Delete that picture. / Thought you would miss someone.”
Severe Psychological and Physical Damage
Although physical abuse and neglect in nursing homes is more widely reported, psychological abuse such as sexual humiliation can be just as traumatizing. Sexual abuse in nursing homes is a rapidly growing issue, and the Internet simply opens new avenues by which this abuse may occur. Elderly persons are among the most vulnerable members of society, and they deserve justice for the crimes against them. Perpetrators of humiliating acts such as taking nude photos without the consent of the victim must be held legally and financially responsible for their crimes.
Call Us Today for Help
If you or a family member have been abused or neglected, call Wells & Wells today at 870.782.4084 to speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Our Jonesboro legal team is prepared to help you recover the compensation that you deserve.