CW: Sexual assault
A 78-year-old man is facing charges stemming from an alleged sexual assault that occurred on April 7 in North Charleston, SC. Anthony Gibbs, 78, is charged with criminal sexual conduct – third degree. Jail records show he was booked into the Al Cannon Detention Center on April 11.
On Friday, April 7, officers responded to a home near Ashley Phosphate Road for reports of a sexual assault. A 9-1-1 caller reported that she came home from a trip to the store. They couldn’t find the victim. The victim is a 24-year woman who has developmental disabilities.
The caller searched the house and found the victim sitting on the bed. The victim was partially undressed and said it wasn’t the first time she had been abused by Gibbs. The caller confronted Gibbs who told them “You don’t understand” before leaving the area in a truck.
Unfortunately, disabled people are more likely to experience sexual assault or abuse. Sexual assault occurs seven times more frequently against intellectually disabled people than against non-disabled people.
Perhaps one of the most egregious examples of this occurred in January 2019. A nurse at a long-term care facility in Arizona raped and impregnated a woman with intellectual disabilities.
Phoenix Police Department detectives questioned the nurse, Nathan Sutherland, 39, in the case on January 22, 2019, and collected a DNA sample from him that matched that of the child, a boy delivered on December 29, 2018. The following morning, according to the police, Mr. Sutherland was booked into custody at the Maricopa County Jail on one charge of sexual assault and one charge of abusing a vulnerable adult.
Disabled people have the right to live free of abuse. There is no justifiable reason to abuse, neglect, or kill disabled people. Disabled people are among America’s most vulnerable residents. Those charged with caring for some of them the most vulnerable members of society should never abuse them.
Erickson, Joseph. “Elderly Man Charged in Sexual Assault of Woman with Developmental Disability: NCPD.” WCIV, Sinclair Broadcast Group, 12 Apr. 2023, https://abcnews4.com/news/local/elderly-man-charged-in-sexual-assault-of-woman-with-developmental-disability-ncpd-north-charleston-police-department-anthony-gibbs-al-cannon-detention-center-wciv-ashley-phosphate-road.
Haag, Matthew. “Nurse Charged with Sexual Assault of Woman in Vegetative State Who Gave Birth.” The New York Times, The New York Times Company, 23 Jan. 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/23/us/nathan-sutherland-vegetative-arizona.html.
Shapiro, Joseph. “The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About.” NPR, NPR, 8 Jan. 2018, https://www.npr.org/2018/01/08/570224090/the-sexual-assault-epidemic-no-one-talks-about.