Sexual Assaults Reported at Convalescent Home

Thursday, May 27, 2010  |  Updated 5:30 PM PDT
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Sexual Assaults Reported at Convalescent Home

AP

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A San Pablo man suspected of sexually assaulting two disabled  women at a convalescent home in San Pablo this month has been charged with  nine felonies, according to police.

      Julio Mestre, 56, has been charged with three counts of sexual  penetration of a disabled person, two counts of sexual battery on an  institutionalized victim, two counts of elder abuse and two counts of  first-degree residential burglary, according to court records.
     
San Pablo police Detective Sgt. Dave Lewellyn said police were  first notified of the assault on May 8 when an employee at the Creekside  Healthcare Center called to report that a patient had been sexually  assaulted.
     
The victim's roommate, a 79-year-old woman, saw what was happening  and alerted staff, but the man left before police arrived, Lewellyn said.
   
 The victim, a 66-year-old woman, couldn't speak because she had  had a stroke, but was able to show police with her hands what had been done  to her, Lewellyn said.
     
She was taken to Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, but doctors  weren't able to confirm that any assault had occurred, so she was returned to  the convalescent home, Lewellyn said.
     
Police weren't able to determine that any unauthorized person had  been in the home and the woman didn't know her attacker, so the officers  eventually left.
     
The next morning, police got a second call from a staff member  reporting that the same man had returned to the facility. The man, later  identified as Mestre, was allegedly inside the facility accompanying his  wife, who was giving Holy Communion to patients, Lewellyn said.
     
Lewellyn said there was no indication that Mestre's wife knew that  the alleged crimes were happening.
     
Police also found a nurse who reported seeing Mestre leaving the  victim's room the previous night.
     
Officers took Mestre to the police station for questioning but he  denied the accusations, Lewellyn said.
     
During the follow-up investigation, the victim's roommate told  police that Mestre had sexually assaulted her on Jan. 1.
     
The January incident was not reported to police and investigators  are still following up with the facility about what happened. Lewellyn said  that so far, it appears that there may have been a communication problem  between the victim and staff members when she tried to tell them what had  happened.
     
"Regarding the possibility of a second incident back in January,  we had no knowledge whatsoever of any possible second incident until we  called the police and the Department of Health ourselves initially," said  Melody Chatelle, a spokeswoman for the Creekside Healthcare Center, said  today.
     
She said officials at the facility are cooperating fully with the  police and health department investigations as well as conducting their own  investigation into the alleged assaults.
     
They are also making sure that the two victims are receiving the  medical, psychological and spiritual help they need, Chatelle said.
     
Although the investigation is still ongoing, the charges filed  against Mestre are for both alleged assaults.
   
 Mestre had been convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery for a  similar assault on a patient at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco in  2005. As a result of that conviction, he was required to register as a sex  offender with police, but because the charge was a misdemeanor, his crimes  were not posted on the Megan's Law website, police said.
   
 Mestre has pleaded not guilty to all the charges and is scheduled  to return to court June 15 to set a date for a preliminary hearing. His bail  has been set at $700,000, according to court records.
    

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