B.C. boy found in the care of an alleged U.S. sex offender
Russel Olvena Torralba is wanted in the U.S. for sexually assaulting a 98-year-old woman
A fugitive nurse accused of sexually assaulting a 98-year-old woman in San Diego has been found working as a live-in caregiver for a severely disabled 8-year-old boy in Vancouver.
The person he ended up working with is a person who is very vulnerable and unable to communicate in any meaningful way.- Marin Debruyn, counsel for the Minister of Immigration
Marin Debruyn, counsel for the Minister of Immigration, told a detention hearing of the Immigration and Refugee Tribunal Monday that Russel Olvena Torralba was caring for a seven-year-old with fetal alcohol syndrome when he was arrested by Canadian Border Services agents last week.
"The person he ended up working with is a person who is very vulnerable and unable to communicate in any meaningful way," said Debruyn, who added that officials with the Ministry of Children and Families had expressed concern about the type of care given by Torralba.
Torralba is charged in California with elder neglect and committing a lewd act upon a dependent adult. The charges stem from a shocking incident caught on video in which Torralba and another nurse were allegedly seen fondling each other while touching a 98-year-old stroke victim who lay helpless in the bed beside them. The pair were hired by the woman's family to work in her home.
Torralba's nursing licence was revoked after other allegations arose around the neglect of several seniors in a care home he ran.
Both the Ministry of Children and Families and Vancouver Police are investigating the new allegations. According to a ministry spokesperson, all residential service providers that contract with the ministry must follow certain standards, including a documented criminal record check and the submission of verified educational and professional qualifications.
Debruyn said concerns were raised about Torralba as it related to access to knives, medication and sleeping arrangements with the child, who had been in his round-the-clock care since December.
CBSA agents arrested Torralba at a Vancouver residence last week after a tip from the U.S. Marshals office. He came into Canada by car in August, before criminal charges had been laid.
Debruyn said Torralba was clearly aware that prosecution was likely because he admitted to Googling his name along with the letters, FBI.
"That's not something a normal person does if they don't think they're wanted," said Debruyn.
Torralba was denied release because the Immigration Tribunal member found he would be unlikely to appear for an admissibility hearing set for next Monday.
With files from the CBC's Jason Proctor