According to the Orange County Register, local officials believe that a 28-year-old Riverside resident named David Moreno may have assaulted numerous victims while working as a maintenance worker at Emeritus Senior Living in Yorba Linda. Officials are asking if anyone has information regarding the matter, to please contact the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Moreno is already facing a felony sexual battery on an institutional victim charge and a felony sexual penetration by a foreign object of an incompetent victim charge. These acts allegedly occurred in June or July of 2012 when Moreno went into the room of a resident suffering from dementia.
Moreno plead guilty and is free on a $100,000 bail.
Investigators believe that there may be more victims. Many of our previous blogs that discussed instances of nursing home abuse described situations where nursing home nurses or administrators were involved. Nursing home orderlies on numerous occasions have been caught abusing residents. A key issue for both in home and nursing home staff revolves around the hiring practices of nursing homes and in home care staffing agencies. Background checks and references are almost always required, but rotten apples manage to slip through the cracks.
Many people are concerned with the hiring process for nursing home staff such as nurses because they typically think of these employees as having the most direct contact with the residents. These types of individuals are often charged with monitoring meals and seeing that medication is properly administered so they do have a direct impact on the residents well being. However, licensed nurses and administrators are not the only people with access to the residents.
If you took a quick survey of nursing home residents and their families, they would certainly say that it is important to have quality trustworthy staff, but they may not even think about other types of workers. Nearly every job has a screening process, but they may not be as strict as those for doctors and nurses. In this instance, it was a maintenance worker. Maintenance workers such as Moreno oftentimes have nearly full access to a nursing home under the guise of “maintenance” or checking on a complaint. An administrator or nurse might not think twice about passing a uniformed maintenance worker carrying a bag of tools despite the fact that this passing took place in a special needs patient wing of the home. A nursing home employee might even pass by a maintenance worker entering a resident’s room because he or she assumes that the worker is simply doing their job to check on some technical issue.
Each of these situations should be checked. Nursing homes must enact and enforce strict screening processes for the hiring of all types of employees who work in a home; not just the nurses. A maintenance worker might not have access to the residents’ medication, but the job presents opportunities for abuse or stealing nonetheless.