NHC Nursing Home Administrator May Have Turned Blind Eye To Sex Abuse

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More than a year after the Scene ran a cover story uncovering cringe-worthy allegations of sexual abuse at National Healthcare Corp.'s Bristol nursing home, even the administrator of the facility is now finding herself in the crosshairs of the Virgina Attorney General's Office, according to the Bristol Herald Courier.

James Wright is due to be sentenced May 14 for molesting the most vulnerable residents at the nursing home owned by the Murfreesboro-based company. He submitted an Alford plea in January to four counts of aggravated sexual battery — meaning he acknowledged his goose was cooked in court without actually admitting to the crimes. Now nursing home administrator Charlotte Wilson is under investigation for allegedly ignoring reports of Wright's abuses.

NHC employees are notoriously obsessed with the chain of command, insisting complaints be routed through the proper channels — even when it conflicts with state law compelling those with knowledge of abuse to report it to the appropriate authorities, as detailed in a December Scene story. The complaints made to former director of nursing Anne Franklin, who was fined and reprimanded by the Virginia Board of Nursing, would have inevitably made their way to Wilson. Clearly, the reports were never acted upon, placing Wilson in hot water. Prosecutors will likely press for revocation of her license.

With charges of criminal inaction reaching all the way to the nursing home's top brass, it's logical to wonder whether NHC has engendered a corporate atmosphere where abusers slip beneath the radar. It also makes it difficult to argue for tort reform when management fails to protect its residents at every level.

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