Woman sexually assaulted by employee at Winnipeg personal care home, police say
'It's probably one of the most heinous crimes because it's someone who can't defend themselves'
A man in his 60s is charged with sexual assault after a woman at a Winnipeg personal care home was attacked, police say.
The man was an employee of Oakview Place care home, on Ness Avenue, at the time of the sexual assault in November 2018, police said. The woman, a senior whose age is not being released by police, is a resident there.
She was assessed at hospital but not seriously physically injured.
"As as a citizen and a longtime cop, I can tell you that I think any time one of our most vulnerable is attacked, whether it's very young or old or someone who is infirm, it leaves you feeling a little sick," police spokesman Const. Rob Carver said.
"It's probably one of the most heinous crimes because it's someone who can't defend themselves."
The police were advised of the assault soon after it happened and immediately began an investigation, they said. The man was arrested and charged on March 6.
We were extremely troubled to learn of these allegations, and we extend our sincerest sympathies to the victim and her family- WRHA spokesperson
Police would not provide details about the man's position at the care home.
However, they did say they are looking into whether there are any other incidents at Oakview Place.
"Any time there is a sexual assault where it's somebody who's in a vulnerable position, where there isn't a direct relationship between the victim and the accused, we always have to ask whether or not there could be more victims within the organization that it occurred," Carver said.
"We don't believe there are more but certainly that was one aspect of the investigation."
Oakview Place, a 245‐bed facility, is privately owned and operated by Extendicare Canada, which has a number of care homes in the city and across the country.
"While for privacy reasons we cannot discuss any particular resident, employee, or incident, we can tell you that the employee in question was removed from work immediately and is no longer employed with Extendicare," regional director Ron Parent said in a written statement emailed to CBC News.
"We are deeply concerned that an incident happened in our home and we have been co-operating fully with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, the Office for Protection for Persons in Care and the police in their investigation. We have been working with the family and are in close communication with them," he said.
Parent said Extendicare has "a detailed screening process in place" for staff, which includes police background checks.
Reported to province
Although the care home is private, it does have a service agreement with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, which refers people there.
"We were extremely troubled to learn of these allegations, and we extend our sincerest sympathies to the victim and her family," a WRHA spokesperson said in a statement to CBC.
"The incident has been reported to Manitoba's Protection for Persons in Care office. We will be fully co-operating with the police investigation in whatever capacity we may be asked to do so."
Police said the man has no prior charges that would have been flagged in a screening process.
"No matter how many checks and balances are in place and no matter how much vetting is done, if someone hasn't committed a crime previous, but they are a potential predator, there's no way the system can vet them out," Carver said.
"So we can have all of the processes that anyone could imagine and we still can't guarantee that someone who is in a position where they're in charge of someone who is vulnerable may or may not potentially be a predator.
"It's just impossible no matter what the organization is."