Recent reporting from the Tribune-Review has shined a light on the problem of registered sex offenders hidden away at Western Pennsylvania nursing homes, where they are left to prey on unsuspecting residents. Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. is proud to represent those injured in claims against abusers and the facilities that protected and enabled them.
Nursing homes have a legal responsibility to protect their residents from harm, including sexual abuse and assault. When they fail to warn of a resident’s status as a registered sex offender, they can and should be held accountable if the sex offender victimizes another resident.
The Tribune-Review highlighted a heartbreaking case at Brighton Rehabilitation and Wellness Center in Beaver County: A 57-year-old female resident was sexually assaulted when she accidentally stumbled into another’s room. Since the onset of her advanced dementia, she had taken to wandering the halls. Unbeknownst to her or anyone else at the facility, the other resident, Richard Marlin Walter, had been on Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law registry of sexual offenders for decades.
A nurse making the rounds walked in on the assault and, fortunately, saved the woman. Walter tried to claim she “wanted him to do that,” but he later confessed to the assault.
Although the Brighton Township police charged Walter with sexual and indecent assault, the facility did not inform the victim’s son of what happened. In fact, he did not learn of the sexual assault until he was contacted by a Tribune-Review reporter working on the story.
“[The victim’s son] didn’t think much of the vague call he received one day telling him ‘there was some touching’ involving his mother that ‘had been handled,’ ” the Tribune-Review reported. “There were no details, no mention that police were called or that Richard Marlin Walter was arrested.”
Brighton has also come under fire for other instances of negligence, namely the lack of precaution it took in preventing a deadly COVID-19 outbreak among residents. Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C. is currently representing plaintiffs in a lawsuit over the outbreak.
In fall 2021, Walter was merely one of the seven registered sex offenders living at Brighton. There were at least 67 other registered sex offenders living in Western Pennsylvania nursing and assisted-living homes, as well. Brighton is not, therefore, the only center to house registered sex offenders without notifying other residents and their families.
Pittsburgh Attorney Robert F. Daley, partner at Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., highlighted the new but very serious nature of this problem in his interview with the Tribune-Review.
“I’ve been doing this for 25 years, and only in the last five or six years that I’ve even heard about it,” Attorney Daley explained. “I checked my elderly father into a personal care home and didn’t even think to check Megan’s List.”
Sadly, experts expect the problem to grow in years to come. Per the Tribune-Review, there are about 900,000 registered sex offenders. As this demographic grows older, profit-hungry nursing homes are likely to continue to take them in.
Working to Protect Nursing Home Residents from Sex Offenders
At Robert Peirce & Associates, P.C., our lawyers have represented victims and their loved ones in nursing home sex abuse and assault lawsuits for more than 40 years. We are fully prepared to put this experience to work for you. It is our goal to win you justice and save other families from similar harm.
Legal action can work to pressure careless nursing homes and long-term care facilities to prioritize resident safety. That’s why our Pittsburgh attorneys are reviewing cases involving sexual assault by hidden registered sex offenders at such facilities.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a registered sexual offender at a nursing home or other long-term care facility, we encourage you to reach out to our firm. We truly care about helping residents and their families recover their full compensation, giving them the tools they need to move forward.
When you are ready, we are right here to help. Call (844) 383-0565 or contact our Pittsburgh attorneys online for a free, confidential consultation. We accept cases in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.