Hot Topic: Nursing Homes for Sex Offenders & Violent Offenders

TARGET 11: Pa. nursing homes not required to notify patients, families when sex offenders move in

2-10-16 Pennsylvania:

PITTSBURGH — While some states have passed laws requiring nursing homes to notify patients and families when a registered sex offender moves in, a Target 11 investigation revealed that no such law exists in Pennsylvania.

Staff at the nursing homes may not even know because the state only notifies them when a sexually violent predator moves in.

Target 11's Rick Earle took the addresses of nursing homes and cross referenced them to the addresses of registered sex offenders on the Megan’s Law website in order to find which local nursing homes have sex offenders as residents.

Norman Carl Nelson, who was convicted of rape in 1989, is one local sex offender who lists his address as a nursing home in Wilkinsburg.

Stacie Coates, who worked at the nursing home for several months, said she didn’t know Nelson was a registered sex offender.

“I had heard there was few in there. (But) I didn't know for sure,” she told Earle.

While it doesn’t bother her to learn that she was working around a sex offender, Coates said she would think twice about putting a loved one in the home.

“Well, now that I know that, I probably wouldn't,” she said. “I wouldn't do that.”

Others Earle found on the Megan’s Law website living at local nursing homes included Walter William Boyd on Pittsburgh’s North Side, John Thomas Spencer in Monroeville, Peary Lee Weikel in Beaver and John Robert Randall in Cranberry Township.

“They talk about it being the only crime they don't age out of. Also I'm assuming if someone's in a nursing home, they're health is compromised. So I guess it would be interesting to see how mobile they are, how ambulatory they are,” Alison Hall, with Pittsburgh Action Against Rape, said.

A study by “A Perfect Cause,” a nursing home advocacy group, in 2005 found that there were 1,600 registered sex offenders in long-term care facilities across the country, and they documented more than 60 crimes, including rapes and assaults.

Target 11 reached out to all of the local nursing home where sex offenders were found to be living but only heard back from the North Side location, which issued the following statement:
“We do not feel that any patients, staff or visitors are currently at risk. If the possible issue of a sexual predator residing in the facility occurred, we would communicate the information to our families and residents while protecting patient privacy.”
Target 11 spoke with Pittsburgh attorney Rob Peirce, who handles elderly and nursing home abuse cases, about what advice he’d offer to those looking to place a loved one in a nursing home.

“It's simple for someone to go and look at the facility. Is it clean? Is it dirty? But you can't just put a loved one in a convenient location,” he said. “You must look into the background of that facility as best you can, the employees and who may be staying there.”

As for the reliance of the self-reporting Megan’s Law website, law enforcement officials told Earle that they do random compliance checks.

Last year alone, officers checked more than 2,000 addresses across Pennsylvania and found only 40 offenders who were not in compliance. Police said the non-compliance rate stands at less than 2 percent. ..Source.. by

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What I'm really interested to find out is how the states--particularly the ones that have inexplicably brought themselves into compliance with SORNA--plan to deal with the enforcement component for lifetime registrants who have become too physically or mentally incapacitated to obey the law. To my knowledge there is no provision under SORNA for adjudicating capacity of ailing registrants, many of whom are now saddled with an open-ended lifetime requirement to appear in person, quarterly, at an authorized registration site.

It almost amuses me to envision the nightmare the PSP and the DA will have determining where the line is drawn between someone who truly lacks capacity and someone who just decides he's not going to do that crap anymore. Are we going to see enforcement personnel leading broken old men around in cuffs from jail to one court hearing after another and back? Wheeling them around in chairs with oxygen tanks and such, all because they missed a registration window, or failed to show up in person when they moved from room 6B in independent living to room 35C in assisted?

We will see this law change, because while the legislature has given no thought to the collateral consequences for registered people, they have also failed to consider some of the costs that will eventually fall on themselves in the way of enforcing this ridiculous law on an aging population of registrants that will at one point or another create a revenue sinkhole through enforcement efforts and court proceedings.

It's amazing to me that this problem was given no consideration by lawmakers. Of course, it's the "sex offender" who is irredeemably sick, even while thoughtless and vindictive laws such as SORNA are passed by legislatures woozy from the loss of blood to the brain caused by lawmakers' incurable addiction to passing "justice boner" legislation.

You know, the Founders would have expected stupidity like SORNA coming from the "lower house" as it represented the passions of an uneducated and uninformed public that nevertheless deserves to have its voice heard in a democratic society. But we're supposed to have a more deliberative, wiser "upper house" to balance these passionate responses from "the masses." That's their job. This country seems to be in a constant struggle against its lowest common denominator, though. Maybe that's why we expect people to be so "patriotic" and vocal about how great we are--because if we didn't constantly say it, few people would have a reason to believe it.

I really honor the oppressed minorities of every type throughout our history who have stuck it out and fought for a more just society. I don't know if I have the patience or wherewithal to dedicate so much energy and take so much risk to achieve goals that more civilized countries achieved generations ago. What would the United States be without its wealth?