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Utica Man Accused of Nursing Home Sexual Abuse

A former employee of the Focus Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Utica has been arrested and faces several charges after allegedly sexually abusing a resident at the facility. John Tamba, 48, of Utica is charged with three separate counts of sexual abuse, three counts of endangering the welfare of a vulnerable elderly person or an incompetent or physically disabled person, and three counts of willful violation of health laws.

According to the indictment and the New York Attorney General, Mr. Tamba allegedly engaged in forcible sexual contact with a physically disabled elderly woman who is a resident at the facility where Mr. Tamba worked. He was employed as a certified nurse’s aide at the facility. He was arrested Monday and is being held without bail. If convicted, Mr. Tamba faces up to 21 years in prison for his crimes.

Nursing Home Abuse Statistics

In 2010, the United States Census recorded a record 40.3 million people, thirteen percent of the total population, aged 65 and older. By 2050, this age group is expected to account for a full fifth of the total U.S. population. Elder abuse is defined as the intentional abuse or neglect of a senior that causes harm or creates a serious risk of harm by a caregiver or other person in a trusting relationship with that elder.

Unfortunately, experts do not know exactly how often seniors are abused, but estimates are that as few as only one in fourteen cases of elder abuse goes reported or as many as one in twenty-four. Statistics show that elderly women are more likely to be abused than men, and the older that a senior is the more likely the abuse is to occur.

In 2008, there were a reported 3.2 million seniors living in nursing home facilities. One study of nursing home residents found that as many as 44% of residents said that they had been abused, and 95% claimed to have either seen the neglect of another patient or been neglected themselves.

Types of Elder Abuse and Abusers

Elder abuse is usually split into the following categories: physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse. Of the categories, financial abuse is the most self-reported elder abuse by the senior community. Seniors are often afraid of reporting their own abuse for fear of retaliation, lack of physical or mental ability to report, or because they do not want to get their abuser in trouble.

Over ninety percent of all elder abusers are family members of the senior. The adult children, spouses, partners, grandchildren, and other members of the family are the most common offenders. In addition, family members with a history of drug abuse, mental or emotional illness, and those who feel burdened by their caregiving duties are the most likely to commit elder abuse against their own family members.

Effects of Elder Abuse

Seniors who experience abuse, even mild or modest abuse, have upwards of a 300% higher chance of death than those who are not abused. In addition, victims of elder abuse have higher levels of psychological distress and lower levels of self-esteem. Seniors who have been abused in nursing homes also tend to have more physical healthcare problems than elders who have not been abused, including joint and bone issues, digestive problems, chronic pain, high blood pressure, and heart problems.

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