Following a male nurse’s alleged rape of their elderly mother at Manhattanville Health & Rehabilitation Center last week, the victim’s children are planning to file a civil suit against the center and the suspect, according to their lawyer.
“This should not be happening in facilities that are approved by the state for the care of those who can’t care for themselves,” said Sanford Rubenstein, a personal injury lawyer known for high-profile cases.
Police arrested licensed practical nurse Nanic Aidasani after another Manhattanville nurse reportedly observed him raping a 64-year-old patient in the early hours of Feb. 18.
Initial news reports said staff detained Mr. Aidasani until police from the 50th Precinct arrived at the 311 W. 231st St. center. Authorities charged the suspect with second-degree rape of a victim who cannot give consent, among other charges.
The center’s administrator, Uri Schwartz, said he could not confirm details of the incident while the investigation was ongoing.
“I have to commend my staff for doing the right thing,” Mr. Schwartz said. “An investigator said the way you know abuse will not happen here is, you see the way they report things.”
The 50th Precinct’s commanding officer, Deputy Inspector Paul Rasa, echoed Mr. Schwartz’s praise.
“I think they did a good job,” the officer said. “Obviously, the nurse did a good job. She reported it. She didn’t let it go.”
However, Mr. Rubenstein said the Manhattanville center deserves to pay.
“She has suffered a horrible, traumatic event and her inability to communicate, to speak with regard to it compounds that,” Mr. Rubenstein said of the victim, who reportedly has dementia and cannot speak. “Fortunately in this case, there was a witness who saw what happened and can testify before the grand jury.”
He predicted the case will come down to the witnessing nurse’s testimony as well as physical evidence from a so-called rape kit that authorities administered within 72 hours of the alleged crime.
“Obviously, they don’t feel comfortable returning her to this facility,” Mr. Rubenstein said of the victim’s family. “And the issue becomes how she should be cared for. The family is grappling with it now.”
Mr. Aidasani’s next scheduled court appearance is on March 13.
Mr. Rubenstein said the victim’s children were not available for interviews.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Health confirmed it was investigating Manhattanville Health & Rehabilitation Center.