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Investigation: Alleged attempted sexually abuse of grandmother

December 5, 2012 8:23:47 PM PST
A janitor at a nursing home has been charged with attempting to sexually abuse an 81-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease who is unable to communicate.

Now, her family is speaking out about the ordeal exclusively to Investigative Reporter Sarah Wallace.

"I feel very angry, betrayed," said Loren Levy, granddaughter.

Loren Levy is haunted by the image of her grandmother, vulnerable and unable to speak, and unable to say what really happened in a closet at the Hudson Pointe Nursing home in Riverdale last Thursday.

Levy says she and her mother received a phone call that night that Gertrudis Munoz was being taken to a hospital.

"And they never said it was an attempted sexual abuse. They just said there was an incident," Wallace asked.

"They said it was an incident," Levy said.

The family says they learned from detectives, not the nursing home, that a janitor, Jorge Sarmiento, had been charged with attempted sexual abuse.

"What we understand is that this patient was found in the closet of another room. A nursing assistant who was putting laundry away found the patient in the closet against the wall, naked below the waist, and the staff member was on his knees, in front of her," said Cheryl Moin, the Munoz Family Attorney.

"These are things you should not go through in a location that you feel was the right place for her to stay," Levy said.

The nursing home declined an on-camera interview, but the administrator says they taken any possibility of patient mistreatment very seriously: "When we received a report that a patient may be at risk, we took immediate steps to safeguard the patient, conducted a thorough investigation and immediately involved the appropriate state and local authorities."

He added the janitor has been suspended. The family is still not satisfied.

"I feel that this is just wrong. This should not be happening to anyone," Levy said.

Munoz is now out of the hospital and back at the nursing home.

They're hoping to move her out as quickly as possible and hoping people with similar stories, come forward.

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If you have a tip about this or any other issue you'd like investigated, please give our tipline a call at 877-TIP-NEWS. You may also e-mail us at the.investigators@abc.com.

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