• An Illinois nursing home was fined $202,510 after a former nurse was accused of sexually abusing a resident
  • The male nurse allegedly performed oral sex on a male patient, which a co-worker allegedly witnessed
  • The nursing home was cited as the incident was only reported a week after the alleged assault happened

A nursing home in St. Clair County, Illinois, was fined a little over $200,000 by state and federal agencies after a former employee was accused of sexually assaulting a resident with cognitive problems in December last year.

New Athens Home for the Aged received the most serious citation available to regulators and was fined $202,510 following an investigation by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), which said the nursing home had put residents' safety in "immediate jeopardy" by failing to prevent abuse, newspaper Belleville News-Democrat reported.

The amount included the $177,510 fine from the federal agency U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and $25,000 fine from the IDPH.

One of the nursing home's previous employees, 61-year-old Richard Kuklinski, was accused of performing oral sex on an unnamed male resident during a night shift on Dec. 16, 2020, the report said.

The former nurse was charged Monday with aggravated criminal assault of a victim who was 60 years or older following a police investigation that started in late 2020, according to the outlet.

The victim had a history of traumatic brain injury and anxiety, the state said. His records showed that he was at risk for abuse and neglect due to cognitive impairment, physical limitation, difficulty with communication and how much he depended on the staff for his care.

"I didn't want him to do it, but there was not much I could do about it being this place and all," the resident told a state inspector, according to the report.

Additionally, the nursing home was cited because one of its employees witnessed the alleged sexual abuse but only reported it to the administrators a week after it had allegedly occurred, the state said.

The state's investigation found that an unnamed certified nursing assistant who claimed to have witnessed Kuklinski's sexual abuse did not inform his boss about it until Dec. 22, 2020, which was when the facility's leaders had called police.

The assistant told a state inspector that he "was not trained for how to respond to something like this," according to the report.

"I was in shock... I could not believe what I was seeing," the assistant was quoted as saying. "I just left and did not tell anyone that day. I could not concentrate and kept seeing it over and over again in my head."

Kuklinski reportedly finished his shift before quitting the next day "because of the schedule," the state's report said. "Administrative findings of abuse" will show up on background checks for workers seeking health care jobs, according to IDPH spokeswoman Melaney Arnold.

Illinois downgraded the severity of the nursing home's citation early this year because, according to the Belleville News-Democrat, the facility had made the following changes:

  • Worked to determine if the resident was coping and if he needed counseling
  • Revised its abuse policy
  • Updated staff training on all forms of abuse and how to report it
  • Started randomly evaluating employees while they worked with residents

"We have been very detailed in our review of the situation, and we have taken multiple steps to prevent it from happening again," New Athens Home for the Aged administrator Jeff Edmiaston said.

He added that employee training on reporting abuse had been updated and that security cameras have been installed in its common areas.

Kuklinski was booked into the St. Clair County Jail, a report by the Associated Press said. A search of his name in the jail’s inmate list, however, yielded no results as of writing.

Representation. New Athens Home for the Aged was fined $202,510 after a former nurse, 61-year-old Richard Kuklinski, was accused of sexually assaulting a resident. Pixabay