Alleged sex assault at local hospital highlights problem of elder abuse

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LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. -- On Monday, Truman Medical Centers fired the man accused of forcing a patient to perform a sex act as that medical care technician worked at the Long Term Care facility in Lakewood.

It comes as Kansas City Police continue to investigate what happened there Friday. FOX 4 confirmed that the alleged sexual assault at Truman Medical Centers Lakewood is elder abuse.

Law enforcement and lawyers both say elder abuse is more common than you think.

A national study showed sexual assault is actually the least common form of elder abuse.

But Linda Tabory, an elder abuse lawyer, told FOX4's Rebecca Gannon she hears or sees of at least one sexual abuse case against the elderly in the metro every year, and she's just one lawyer.

Statistics show that for every one reported case of all elder abuse -- physical and financial -- there are as many as 24 cases that are not reported.

Overland Park Police have one of the few dedicated elder abuse detectives in the metro, and they say it can be tough to investigate these cases. In part, because the victim usually isn't in a position to speak for themselves.

"I'm just saddened by what happened," said Capt. James Sutterby. "That somebody would want to take advantage of a person who can't protect or defend themselves."

"That's what we're here for," said the Overland Park officer. "We're here for the folks who can't stand up for themselves."

The most common form of elder abuse is financial, and that is most commonly committed by a family member or care taker.

There are several ways to report elder abuse.

For the regulations, laws, and phone numbers in Kansas, click here.

For regulations, laws, and phone numbers in Missouri, click here.