Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed After Tennessee Nursing Home Attack

The family of the resident of a Maryville nursing home is suing that facility, saying that the staff allowed a resident who was a known sex offender free reign of the halls, resulting in an attempted nursing home sexual assault.

Katheryn Hill, 65, was a resident at Asbury Place in Maryville a year ago when now-deceased resident James Charles Strickland entered her room and attempted to rape her, according to a lawsuit filed by her family on Friday. Nursing home staff responded to Hill’s cries for help and pulled Strickland off of the woman. Her family now cares for her at home. Strickland died shortly after the attempted rape, according to a story in the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The family is seeking $13 million in damages from Asbury Place, saying that the nursing home did nothing to protect Hill or other residents from Strickland, who was convicted in 1992 of rape and incest. Tennessee health officials say that federal laws dictate that nursing homes cannot turn away convicted sex offenders applying for residence, but they are also required to protect other residents from potentially dangerous individuals.

Nursing home abuse can take many different forms, including physical, sexual or mental. It reduces quality of life for the victims and robs them of dignity, as well as possibly inflicting permanent and debilitating physical damage. Recognizing the signs of nursing home abuse can be difficult, and in many cases the victims are too humiliated to talk about what occurred. Signs of nursing home abuse can include:

  • Unusual injuries or broken bones
  • Unexplained loss of hair
  • Changes in behavior of nursing home staff towards a resident, or residents toward one another.