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The Iowa law designed to protect dependent adults from abuse was last updated in 2008, before many social media apps existed. It bars “sexual exploitation of a dependent adult by a caretaker,” which would have applied if the photo showed the resident’s genitals. It didn’t.

The nurse assistant was fired from Hubbard Care Center after a co-worker reported her to supervisors, but the state was unable to discipline her at all. She remains eligible to work in any nursing home in the state. Government documents did not name her.

“This was something no one expected,” says David Werning, a spokesman for the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals, of the case. The nurse assistant had used Snapchat to send the photo of the resident, who has dementia, to six colleagues, along with the caption “shit galore,” according to government reports.

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NPR Shots Blog/ProPublica

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