HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - A 19-year-old is behind bars accused of inappropriately touching an 89-year-old resident at a rehabilitation facility in Henrico.
Police arrested Stephen Anthony Burton and charged him with one count of object sexual penetration in connection with the assault. Burton was a staff member at the Laurels of University Park on Pemberton Road when the assault took place on June 7, according to police and court records. He was arrested at his Henrico home early Wednesday.
Late Wednesday afternoon, Catherine Chiovaro, regional manager at the Laurels of University Park, issued a statement saying the employee charged is no longer employed there. The statement in full:
While police were told about this case of alleged elderly abuse, advocates say it's under reported.
"Abuse of older adults is a growing problem, It's also one that has been very invisible," says Dr. Paula Kupstas, a program director at the Virginia Center on Aging.
There are signs. "If it's sexual abuse it may be bruises in places like the inner thigh, it may be unexplained sexually transmitted diseases," she said.
Dr. Kupstas says the elderly become targets because many live in isolation and are afraid. "If somebody is saying this is happening to them you really need to pay attention and not dismiss it or diminish it," she said. And letting the victim know it's not their fault is one of the most important things this doctor says a person can do.
Burton was scheduled to be arraigned on the charge on Wednesday morning in Henrico General District Court, but the case was continued to December 11.
The Laurels received a three out of five star
. The site says the facility has 145 beds and 141 residents with short-term, rehabilitation, hospice and long-term care offerings.