A Victoria care home aide has been found not guilty six counts of sexual assault and exploitation of a person with a disability in relation to alleged crimes against three women at Aberdeen Hospital last July.
Amado Ceniza was cleared of the charges on Monday. He had pleaded not guilty to all counts. Following the allegations, Ceniza was unable to return to Aberdeen Hospital in Victoria where he worked on a casual basis.
“I’m a free man now, I’m not guilty, so I can go back to my normal life,” Ceniza said while leaving the Victoria courthouse on Monday.
The three women had testified that Ceniza kissed them and groped them without their consent. The women range in age from mid-50s to late 70s. One of them uses a walker and two rely on wheelchairs. Ceniza testified he tended to the three women with bedtime hygiene and skin cream or lotion, saying he only did what he had permission to do.
Court also heard he looked out for problems like dry skin or sores.
On Monday, the judge said there were concerns about unintentional collusion between the alleged victims in the case.
The judge also found inconsistencies in some of the testimony regarding the descriptions of the alleged perpetrator.
Island Health said in a statement:
We are aware of the court decision regarding the former Care Aide worker and we cannot discuss personnel matters.
We have health and safety plans at all facilities designed to ensure the safety of residents, clients, staff and visitors. When hiring health care aide workers, our practice of confirming that applicants are registered and in good standing, are vetted by the province through the vulnerable population Criminal Records check, and can supply positive personal reference checks, will continue to be our approach.
The judge commended the woman for coming forward, and said some of Ceniza’s behavior, including questionable language, hugs and at times kisses was highly unprofessional but not sexual in purpose.
The crown has 30-days to appeal the case.