Elderly rape victim gets $1.1 million

Date: May 27, 2006
The Scranton Times – 05/27/2006
BY: ERIN L. NISSLEY

A federal judge ruled that a former Nicholson woman who was raped while a resident of a nursing home in 2002 should receive $1.1 million from the home and its owner.

The woman, who is now 90 and living in Tennessee, and her son sued Country Living Personal Care Home, Nicholson, and its owner, Shirley D. Sheridan, of Montrose. Their suit alleged that the home and Mrs. Sheridan were negligent because they allowed Daniel Statham, then 31 and a convicted sex offender, to become a resident of the home but did not notify other residents or their families about his background. They also claimed that Mrs. Sheridan and employees at the home took no precautions to ensure the safety of the other residents.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Blewitt agreed that Mrs. Sheridan and the staff at the nursing home knew about Mr. Statham\’s behavior after he moved into the nursing home and did nothing to remove him or to protect the other residents, nor did they report the rape in a timely fashion.
“We find the defendants\’ conduct is indefensible,” he wrote in his opinion. “Defendants turned a blind eye to Statham\’s known inappropriate behavior time and time again.”

Even so, Judge Blewitt said he did not believe the woman suffered “any lasting memories or effects from the rape due to her moderate states of Alzheimer\’s disease.”

On Oct. 21, 2002, Mr. Statham pleaded guilty to aggravated indecent assault, admitting that he\’d had sex with the woman twice at the home.

It is The Times-Tribune\’s policy not to publish the names of sexual assault victims.

The woman\’s attorney, Mrs. Sheridan\’s attorney and Mrs. Sheridan did not return calls seeking comment Thursday and Friday.

Contact the writer: enissley@timesshamrock.com
@The Times-Tribune 2008
Joe Price
Attorney Joe Price is a seasoned Trial Lawyer serving Northeast, Central and Southeast Pennsylvania for the past forty (40) years. He has handled serious personal injury cases in courts throughout the Federal system including New Jersey and New York. Attorney Price is A.V. Rated by Martindale Hubble. He is Board Certified in Civil Practice by the National Board of Trial Advocacy since 1996.