Man Charged with Sexually Assaulting Residents at Watertown Nursing Home

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on October 16, 2013 in Nursing Homes and Elder Rights
Updated on February 24, 2022

Thomas Spiess, 64, was charged with two counts of fourth degree sexual assault, as well as two counts of intentionally subjecting an individual at risk to abuse. He faces up to two years in prison if convicted.

Several residents at Golden Living Center in Watertown, WI, told police that they had been assaulted by Spiess last July.

Unfortunately, elderly nursing home residents are easy prey for sexual predators because they are often weak and defenseless. They may also fall victim to sexual abuse because they had a stroke or other medical condition that caused them to lose their speech or motor skills.

Sexual abuse is any form of non-consensual sexual contact, including unwanted or inappropriate touching, rape, sodomy, sexual coercion, sexually-explicit photographing, and sexual harassment. It would include situations where the nursing home resident was forced, coerced, tricked, or manipulated into unwanted sexual contact and where the nursing home resident is too ill, frail, or mentally incapacitated to give consent.

A nursing home resident can be sexually abused by a nursing home staff member, another resident, a stranger, or a family member in a variety of situations.

Nursing homes must conduct background investigations on potential employees. Some of these employees may have been terminated from previous jobs because they abused a nursing home resident at another facility and some may have criminal records.

There are also federal and state regulations that are aimed to prevent employment of individuals who have been convicted of abusing, neglecting, or mistreating individuals in a health care related setting. Nursing homes have a duty to be thorough in their investigations of the past histories of individuals they are considering hiring.

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