A 35-year-old male nursing assistant has been arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting two women in his care at Anaheim Terrace Care Center in the 100 block of South Knott Avenue. One of Alejandro Arias’ victims is 84 years old and the other 60, The Orange County Register reports. Both the victims alleged that Arias groped them and then forced them to touch him inappropriately.
Officials say Arias may have worked at another elder care facility in Orange County before he began working for Anaheim Terrace Care Center. He has apparently been a certified nursing assistant for the last two years. Administrators at Anaheim Terrace reported the allegations to police. Arias has been charged with three felony counts of sexual battery on an institutionalized victim and numerous other misdemeanor counts. Police investigators are still looking for others who may have been abused or victimized by Arias. If you have any information, please call Detective Omar Adham at 714-765-1623.
My heart goes out to both the victims and their families. These were vulnerable nursing home residents who could not care for themselves. They were dependent on this nursing assistant to tend to their basic needs and he apparently took advantage of it. Despicable!
Sexual and physical abuse in nursing homes and care facilities, unfortunately, is one of today’s harsh realities. According to a Government Accountability Office report in 2002, law enforcement officials are seldom called to nursing homes to immediately investigate allegations of physical or sexual abuse. About 50 percent of the notifications from nursing homes are submitted two or more days after the nursing homes learned of the alleged abuse. These delays obviously compromise the quality of evidence and hinder investigations. Some residents or their family members are even afraid to report abuse because they fear retaliation from the nursing home or its employees.
This is an unacceptable state of affairs. Nursing homes are responsible for the safety and well-being of their patients. They are accountable to residents and family members for what happens to people when they are under the care of the nursing home. It is the responsibility of nursing home administrators to conduct thorough background checks on who they hire. If nursing homes do not fulfill their responsibilities, they must be held accountable.
If you have been a victim of nursing home abuse or negligence and need more information about how to pursue your rights or hold wrongdoers accountable, please call my office. My staff or I will be happy to help you.