Victoria care facility worker charged in alleged sex assaults
A staff member at a Victoria care facility who cared for seniors and people with disabilities has been charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and sexual exploitation – and police are asking any other potential victims to come forward.
Charges against the male care aide include four counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual exploitation of a person with a disability, according to court documents.
The documents show that the alleged incidents all took place between July 1 and July 15 of this year.
CTV News learned last week of allegations of sexual assault at the Aberdeen Hospital on Hillside Avenue.
Island Health has not confirmed the employee's name, but CTV News obtained court documents filed Wednesday that show a man named Amado Separes Ceniza has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual exploitation of a disabled person.
The BC Care Aide Registry tells CTV News that an Amado Ceniza was a registered care aide who was suspended from the registry due to an employers' alleged abuse submission on July 17. Island Health was listed as the employer on the submission.
Court records show Ceniza has been released on bail and given several court-ordered conditions.
He must not contact or go near his alleged victims, cannot be within 200 metres of Aberdeen Hospital, and is not to be alone in the presence of anyone in a vulnerable population, including the elderly, physically or mentally disabled people or anyone under the age of 18.
A publication ban is in place to protect the names and identities of any alleged victims and witnesses. Charges against Ceniza have yet to be proven in court.
There has been no confirmation of exactly what the nature or extent of the alleged assaults were at the facility.
Shortly after CTV News published a story on the charges against Ceniza, Victoria police issued a news release confirming them.
Police said Ceniza, a 39-year-old Saanich man, was suspended from his job as soon as staff at the facility became aware of the allegations against him and reported them to police.
Ceniza has not had access to patients at the facility since the allegations were made, police said.
Investigators have spoken with three victims but say they suspect there could be more, and are asking those individuals to call them at 250-995-7654.
They're also appealing to any possible witnesses of the alleged interactions between Ceniza and his patients to come forward.
Island Health has issued its own statement on the charges, saying they were made aware of the police investigation involving a staff member last week.
"We can confirm that upon being notified of the allegations last week, we took immediate steps to mitigate any potential risks to clients and residents by suspending the identified individual while the preliminary investigation was underway," the health authority said. "We continue to have supports in place for residents, clients and staff who have been impacted since these allegations have come to light."
B.C.'s senior's advocate Isobel Mackenzie calls the allegations "disgusting."
She said that last year, there were about 159 reported incidents of abuse in health care facilities, 13 of which were sexual abuse.
"We're talking about a population where they may not understand actually what's happening, where they may not know how to report, or where they may feel intimidated to report because the perpetrator is the person who's providing their care and so they fear repercussions," she said.
Ceniza is scheduled to next appear in court on Aug. 1, 2018.