Governor Branstad is considering new steps to protect nursing home residents from a fellow patient with a criminal history of being sexually aggressive.
About a year ago a judge ordered the transfer of an 83-year-old man being held in the state prison unit for sexual predators into a nursing home in Pomeroy. That man is now accused of assaulting a 95-year-old woman in the nursing home.
“We think it’s important that these things not happen in the future,” Branstad says, “and want to determine what is the most appropriate changes we need to make in terms of our laws, rules and procedures to prevent these kind of things from occurring.”
Branstad is criticizing a top aide to former Governor Chet Culver for failing to ensure the nursing home had a written plan to deal with the convicted criminal who had been ordered into the private facility. Branstad says he may ask legislators to pass a bill to deal with the situation if the “working group” reviewing the case believes laws must be changed.
“At least I think there should be a notification of all the people that reside in those facilities and their families,” Branstad says. “But I think we also need to look at whether or not those are the appropriate placement locations in the first place.”
Branstad is also visiting with members of the board that governs Iowa, Iowa State and U.N.I. to ensure allegations of sex abuse within the schools’ athletic departments are handled appropriately. Branstad says the “tragic situation” at Penn State has made “everyone very sensitive” to the topic.
“We need to be extremely careful to make sure whether it’s in a nursing home or a university campus or whether it’s in a day care or grade school or wherever it is that we’re doing as much as we can to protect the well-being of our citizens,” Branstad says, “especially children and elderly who are particularly vulnerable to sexual predators.”
Reports indicate former Penn State coach Joe Paterno did not notify police, but told a superior at the university when one of his assistant coaches reported witnessing another coach assaulting a boy.
AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference.