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.