Sexual assault at nursing home

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

EMPORIA, VA (WWBT) - A nursing home resident is in jail accused of sexual assault. The alleged victim is an elderly grandmother who's confined to a wheelchair.

The alleged attack happened at Emporia Manor Nursing Home. The suspect is 49 year Sidney Mitchell. He faces one felony count of aggravated sexual battery. The alleged victim is a 79 year old wheelchair bound woman.

The woman and suspect were both patients at the nursing home when the alleged crime occurred about two weeks ago. We spoke with the woman's granddaughter.

"We're upset. Pissed. We put her in a nursing home thinking she's going to be safe," said Kim Ware.

Police say the pair was in the day room watching TV when Mitchell, who's also in a wheelchair, touched the woman's private parts. Ware says her grandmother suffers from dementia and cannot defend herself.

"She hasn't spoken in two years. She can't talk, walk. She just sits and that's it," said Ware.

The commonwealth's attorney says an employee witnessed the attack and reported it. Mitchell's mental status is being reviewed.

"I don't know the reason he was in the nursing home at this point. It is my understanding that he is capable of being prosecuted. (Which means he was mentally aware of what he was doing?) Correct," said Commonwealth's Attorney Patricia Watson.

No one with Emporia Manor would talk about the case. An administrator did issue a statement that reads, in part, "I am committed to providing quality care for our residents." Police say Mitchell is a convicted felon stemming from larceny charges.

The elderly woman has been removed from Emporia Manor. Her granddaughter wants justice

"If he's mentally disturbed, I'd like to see him get help, but if he was aware of what he was doing he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Ware said.

Mitchell is scheduled to appear in court next month.

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