88-Year-Old Rape Victim's Family Speaks Out - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/1/06

88-Year-Old Rape Victim's Family Speaks Out

A family is speaking out tonight after their 88-year-old mother was allegedly raped at a Lubbock nursing home.  Lubbock police believe someone may have sexually assaulted an elderly woman at the Whisperwood Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

A rape evaluation showed the elderly woman had semen in her urine. Male DNA was found on the woman, and on her bed at Whisperwood. The victim is in advanced stages of Alzheimer's. She cannot speak, cannot walk, and is completely dependent on a caregiver.

Whisperwood Administrator Ruby Lewis issued this statement. It says, "We have been informed of sexual abuse of a resident of the home. If it's determined to be true, we deeply regret this incident, and express our utmost sympathies to the resident and the family. The matter was reported promptly to the department of human services and the police department. We're cooperating fully with the state surveyors who are investigating, and after the police become involved in the investigation, we will cooperate with them also. The public can be assured we have doubled our efforts and taken new steps to secure the safety of our residents."  But the victim's family says it's too late, claiming a crime has already taken place.

NewsChannel 11's Jennifer Vogel spoke exclusively with the family who tells us they won't stop until they find the person who is responsible for the attack.

The victim's family only spoke out tonight in fear for other nursing home patients that might also be victims of sex crimes. They asked to stay anonymous in fear for their own safety from retaliation. They say the worst part about the alleged rape is that it happened in their mother's own home, a place where she was supposed to feel safe.

"She was a victim that couldn't fight her assailant off and they took advantage of her." The victim's family is outraged that someone took advantage of their mother who was nearly comatose.  "My mom could not talk, could not communicate in any way to let me know she was being violated or not cared for properly. She was physically and mentally hurt."

The victim's family says they have no idea how long the sexual abuse went on, who did it, or how they did it. All they do know is what medical evidence can tell them.  "There was bruises on her thighs and semen in her urine."

Now, the family wants answers.  "She's totally dependent on the help the caregivers give her. And I entrusted the caregivers to give her care."

The family hopes their story reaches the ears of every nursing home to ensure the safety of others who depend on care. "I hope that other people in her condition are cared for the way they are entitled to be cared for and not be abused, mistreated or injured in any way because they have suffered and now's the time they need to be cared for.

As of Tuesday night the victim is hospitalized at UMC with pneumonia. So far there is not a suspect in the case but police and the Department of Human Services are investigating.

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