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I think the general public would be surprised to hear of the number of sexual assaults that occur in nursing homes. I have handled several cases and find them very disturbing and believe the public needs to be aware that it does happen so as to protect themselves and their loved ones. Recently, a nurse’s aide at the National HealthCare Corporation (NHC) Bristol facility has been accused of fondling, groping, and maybe even sodomizing patients for nearly a decade, some of whom cannot walk, speak, or even see. Despite repeated complaints from fellow employees, residents, and family members, managers at the Bristol facility allowed him to stay on the job, and even provided flawless references for him.

After leaving the Bristol NHC nursing home James W. Wright accepted a job at Brookdale Senior Living-Grand Court Bristol nursing home after passing a criminal background and job reference check. Once employed at Grand Court the sexual assault allegations continued.

According to documents filed by the Virginia Board of Nursing, eight people from both nursing homes told investigators that they were groped, fondled and sexually assaulted by Wright between July 2003 and May 2008. Wright’s nursing license has since been suspended and he was indicted and arrested on four counts of aggravated sexual battery.

It is unfortunate that Bristol NHC did not pass along the problems they had with Wright to the next facility. Even if they feared repercussions, for the well being of all nursing home patients, they should have provided the facility all previous employment or character issues. In order for this type of behavior to stop, nursing homes, state regulators, and the police need to do a better job of investigating these claims. More needs to done to protect these vulnerable people, who cannot communicate the injury they have experienced, even when it cause them a loss of dignity and severe anguish.

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