Pennsylvania Bill Seeks to Prevent Nursing Home Sexual Abuse:

House Bill 2341, written by Rep. Robert Matzie, would require nursing homes to report residents who are convicted sex offenders.

A new bill seeking to protect elderly residents from nursing home sexual abuse has been introduced by Pennsylvania State Representative Robert Matzie, has reported. The legislation, House Bill 2341, would require nursing homes to inform residents and workers when a convicted sex offender has been admitted as a resident.

Should the bill become law, Pennsylvania nursing facilities would be notified of the close proximity or admission of a convicted sex offender. The nursing home would then be mandated to make a report to the Department of Health, which would then create a centralized registry for nursing homes.

While such registries of convicted sex offenders must be made public by state police according to Megan’s Law, no centralized sex offender registry currently exists for nursing homes in Pennsylvania. Not having such protections in place for residents would appear as neglect on the part of nursing homes. According to Matzie, such efforts toward thwarting nursing home sexual abuse is long overdue in Pennsylvania.

“I think a lot of people were shocked there were nothing on the books, from democrats, republicans, from advocates,” said the state representative, who serves the 16th District for Pennsylvania. “I believe that we need to ensure that our most vulnerable are safe.”

This Pennsylvania bill seeks to prevent nursing home sexual abuse because it does unfortunately occur. Nursing home sexual abuse is defined as the occurrence of any type of nonconsensual sexual contact between two nursing home residents or between a nursing home resident and a staff worker. Nursing home sexual abuse comes in many forms, ranging from sexual harassment and unwanted/inappropriate physical contact, to sexually explicit photography, to rape or sodomy. Residents’ loved ones should be aware of the following signs that nursing home sexual abuse may have occurred:

  • Genital bruises or scratches
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • The sudden appearance of unexplained fear or anxiety
  • New, uncharacteristic behavior uncharacteristic behavioral changes
  • Sudden, severe depression

Matzie is hopeful his bill will secure support from lawmakers at the Capitol. Any legislation that might reduce the potential for nursing home sexual abuse should be seen as a step in the right direction toward preventing nursing home abuse and neglect.

Working to Protect Elder Abuse in Nursing Homes

Pennsylvania and New Jersey nursing homes are required to meet specific health and safety requirements and to provide such care as to secure the physical, mental, and psycho/social well-being of their residents. Should you have concerns about a Philadelphia/PA or NJ nursing home, or if you suspect neglect, abuse, or fraud has occurred at the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, or New Jersey nursing home where your loved one lives, please contact nursing home abuse attorney Brian P. Murphy to discover your legal rights and options.