A Los Angeles hospice worker said she was fired after she tried to intervene when a visitor allegedly tried to sexually assault a 95-year-old dementia patient.
Nina Robinson suspected that something was wrong, so she left a cellphone on the patient's dresser, the Daily Mail reports. The phone recorded a video in which the man, a nephew by marriage of the alleged victim, leaned down and whispered that he wanted to "make love."
The man has not been identified because he hasn't been charged with a crime. Robinson says she walked into the room about 20 minutes after the camera started recording so she could stop the man.
"I could not allow him to do that to her," said Robinson.
"I walked in the room. He didn't see me," said Robinson. "And the position he was standing in told me he was doing something wrong."
Robinson says showed the hospice company's owner the video later that day. She says her boss fired her for negligence because she had left the patient by herself. Robinson is now reportedly suing the company for wrongful termination.
Annette Sparks, the owner of the hospice company, denied firing Robinson over the incident.
"The suspect did something terribly wrong and is no longer allowed around the patient," said Sparks. "We contacted the proper authorities in this matter."
The LAPD and the state's adult protective services are reported to be investigating the incident.
APS agencies have received an increasing number of reports of elder abuse in recent years, according to The Spokesman-Review. In Washington, the agency received more than 12,000 reports that it found worthy of investigating in 2008, and in 2016, the agency received more than double that number, at 28,285.
"We think it's a combination of an aging baby boomer population combined with an improved awareness of adult abuse among the public," said Washington State Department of Social and Health Services spokesman Chris Wright.
According to Pat Stickel, an APS field services administrator in Spokane, Washington, the ones perpetrating the abuse are often those closest to the victims.
"Sixty to 70 percent of people we investigate as alleged perpetrators are actually family members," said Stickel. "They typically come to us referred by another family member or sometimes a professional. We investigate financial exploitation far more than any other."
"It's not uncommon to have multiple allegations within one investigation," Stickel added. "Mental abuse can sometimes go hand-in-hand with financial exploitation or even neglect. Someone might say, 'You're not going to see your grandkids unless you loan me money.'"