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A DuPage County judge today sentenced a former nursing home CNA to 25 years in prison. The sentence follows a guilty plea to sexual assault charges.

The victim of the assault was a severely disabled woman who resided in the nursing home. The sexual assult was not discovered until after it was discovered that the woman was pregnant. The CNA was identified as the perpetrator through DNA evidence.

The family of the victim is pressing ahead with a civil suit, and under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, they have some advantages in pursuing their case that similarly situated victims in other states would not have.

In cases involving intentional misconduct on the part of their employees, employers often defend the case by saying that the criminal conduct was outside the scope of their employment and that they are therefore not responsible for the criminal behavior of their employees. From an employer’s perspective it may make sense — they did not put the guy on their payroll to perpetrate crimes. Unfortunately, this is sometimes a successful defense, leaving the victims only the jailed and usually penniless perpetrator as their sole source of compensation.

The Illinois Nursing Home Care Act strips that defense away from nursing homes. Under the Illinois Nursing Home Care Act, the nursing home is responsible for even the intentional misconduct of their employees. Because this scope of employment defense has been eliminated, victims of abuse and their families have an easier road to recovering fair compensation for intentional and abusive behavior by staff members.

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