A West Babylon nursing home hired male exotic dancers to perform for its patients, according to a lawsuit filed in State Supreme Court in Suffolk County.
The suit, filed March 13, claims that East Neck Nursing and Rehabilitation Center hired "male strippers to perform" as a regular occurrence for residents.
Sitting in her wheelchair, Bernice Youngblood, a resident of the nursing home who filed the lawsuit with her son, told reporters Tuesday that she didn't know the male dancer was going to be there.
"I felt really bad and ashamed," she said. "That's how I felt about it."
Howard Fensterman, the Lake Success attorney representing the nursing home, said a committee of 16 residents voted unanimously for a male stripper to come in to entertain in September 2012.
Just one dancer was hired to entertain, Fensterman said, and he was paid a fee of $250 by the nursing home. "These are adults, and they may be elderly, but they still have their rights, and they have the ability to make decisions on their own behalf as to what entertainment they want," Fensterman said.
The suit contends Bernice Youngblood "lacks the mental and physical capacity" to competently care for and protect herself, and that the facility breached its "duty of care by purchasing the services of male strippers and directing them to perform various sexually related acts . . . knowing that its patients did not have the physical or mental capacity to consent to such vile acts or to defend themselves against such vile acts." The suit seeks unspecified damages.
Youngblood, 85, and her son, Franklin Youngblood, initiated the lawsuit after the son found a photograph of his mother stuffing cash inside the waistband of a dancer clad only in white briefs, the suit said.
"The gentleman talked to me and he [told] me what he want done," Bernice Youngblood said in an interview, as her two sons looked on.
Franklin Youngblood, of Centereach, found the photograph on or about Jan. 5, the suit said, as he visited his mother at the nursing home. The photograph also shows other residents sitting near Bernice Youngblood as the dancer hovers over her.
Franklin Youngblood, 57, said Tuesday that he asked his mother about the picture, which he found in a drawer. "My mother was upset, just like I was upset," he said.