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Interior Health employee investigated for alleged sexual assault of 'vulnerable' resident

November 17, 2014 - 4:09 PM

NOT THE FIRST ALLEGATION: POLICE

VERNON - Interior Heath Authority is reviewing an employee who was investigated by police for an allegation of sexual assault on a 'vulnerable' care facility resident.

Interior Health informed police of the allegations in July 2014 but the incident happened some time before. Vernon RCMP says interior health didn't report it to police until it concluded its own internal investigation. When police got involved, they found it wasn't the first allegation.

The RCMP Serious Crimes Unit discovered the same care aide had a prior allegation of sexual assault on a severely physically disabled person in 2011, committed while at work. RCMP recommended charges on both incidents, however those charges were not approved by Crown counsel. The file was kept open for some time for further review and consultation with the Crown and Interior Health, but RCMP spokesperson Gord Molendyk says the investigation is now closed.

“They (Crown) have determined there isn’t anything they can put forth for charges in relation to the assault,” Molendyk says.

In general, sexual assault cases are notoriously difficult to prove in court because often there are no independent witnesses. No information about the specifics of the allegations has been released in this case.

While the police investigation did not result in charges, Residential Health Services Administrator Heather Hogan says Interior Health’s review of the matter remains active.

“I can confirm Interior Health has been working with the RCMP on an investigation involving one of our staff members at a care facility in Vernon,” Hogan said in an email. “While I can’t speak to the details due to the need to protect the resident and employee privacy and confidentiality, I can tell you the employee is not currently working with residents in Interior Health.” 

Hogan wouldn’t speak to the specifics of the case, including at which facility the alleged offense occurred.

“What I can tell you is the safety and security of residents and staff is our top priority and whenever a complaint is made Interior Health thoroughly investigates,” Hogan said. “If at any time during that process there are any allegations or findings that may involve a criminal element, they are reported to the RCMP immediately.”

Infonews.ca requested an interview with Hogan but was denied in favour of an email response. Hogan was asked specifically if the health authority delayed reporting the incident to police while it conducted its own investigation and if that is corporate policy. She did not answer the question nor any follow up questions. Hogan also wouldn’t say whether the resident remains under Interior Health’s care or when the allegations were first brought forward to administration.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at chelston@infonews.ca or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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