A review by the Health Service Executive (HSE) of the rape of a nursing home resident by a healthcare worker has been referred to the National Independent Review Panel (NIRP).
he victim, suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was raped by the health worker at an HSE-run nursing home during the lockdown in April 2020.
Emmanuel Adeniji initially denied the attack but pleaded guilty after his DNA matched a sample from the victim.
He was jailed five months later in July 2020 for 11 years, in what would have been one of the fastest rape cases to come to court. The nursing home cannot be named for legal reasons.
The HSE Protection Team have launched an investigation into the care home and the risks to other residents who were also exposed to the healthcare worker.
The Gardaí said over the weekend that they had received no further complaints about the former worker and that the investigation was complete. A Garda spokesman said there was “no ongoing investigation at this time”.
However, the news that the matter has now been referred to NIRP signals an escalation in the investigation.
The NIRP panel only reviews suspected cases of the “most serious failures” of the HSE that have caused “significant harm or compromised the quality of life of those affected”.
The nursing home watchdog, the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa), has asked NIRP for a report on its investigation. The report is not yet complete.
Adeniji, who lived at Royal Canal Court, Kilcock, Co Kildare, worked as a nurse’s aide for 15 years. At 3 a.m. on April 3, 2020, when the country was in lockdown during the first wave of the pandemic, Adenjiji entered the woman’s room and raped her.
The extremely distressed woman told the staff what had happened the next morning.
She was brought to a sexual assault unit, but her family could not accompany her or even see her due to the restrictions.
Adeniji, who had denied any wrongdoing, was linked to the crime when his DNA matched a sample from the victim. He was also recorded on CCTV entering the woman’s room and leaving.
The Dublin Central Criminal Court judge described the rape as “a gross breach of trust by a qualified and experienced medical professional”.
The woman’s daughter told the court that Adeniji was an “animal” that took away her mother’s safety and “single-handedly destroyed” her life.
She said her mother was terrified of him going back to his room. “We always said we would dread the day she would lose her memory, but now, one day, we hope she will wake up and not remember it,” she said.
A probation report on the man suggested he had little idea of the effect of his actions on the woman and that although he acknowledged his actions were heinous and expressed remorse, his words were felt to be lacked depth. The HSE safeguard team carried out a wider investigation, but this has now been referred to NIRP.
The NIRP was established in 2017 by the HSE and is managed by an independent chairman.
Since then he has written two serious incident reports, including the Brandon Report which revealed the ‘devastating’ sexual abuse of 18 residents of a care home in Donegal by another resident.
Social workers have called for greater awareness of the potential for sexual abuse of residents of long-term care facilities.
In 2020, 444 concerns about adult sexual abuse were raised with HSE protection teams – both in community and residential settings.
These included 107 allegations of sexual abuse of people over the age of 65. There were also 109 cases of institutional abuse reported to protection teams.
The HSE’s National Safeguarding Office (NSO) annual report shows that 65% of concerns were reported by voluntary bodies.
The Irish Association of Social Workers (IASW) has called for legal powers to fully investigate concerns about abuse and neglect in private care homes, as well as in public settings.
Vivian Geiran, who chairs the Association of Social Workers, said: “The IASW continues to call for the introduction of mandatory reporting to ensure staff know how to identify and report all forms of abuse. , including sexual abuse.
“We need to publish national data on the rates and trends of sexual abuse experienced by residents each year.
“In Northern Ireland and the UK serious investigations of abuse in care settings are regularly published in full.
“The Irish Government must urgently provide the same kind of transparency in our reviews, so that we can collectively learn how to support and protect residents.
“Vital lessons will not be learned if the reports are not published.”