Nurses who performed sex acts in front of stroke victim sentenced
SAN DIEGO — Two male nurses who engaged in sex acts in front of a 98-year-old female stroke victim they were supposed to be monitoring were sentenced Tuesday to 325 and 365 days in jail, respectively.
Alfredo V. Ruiz and Russel Torralba, both 43, pleaded guilty in February to a felony charge of inflicting mental suffering on an elder. Judge Timothy Walsh sentenced both defendants to the maximum custody under a plea bargain and placed them on probation for five years.
The defendants, both licensed care providers, were seen on home surveillance video masturbating and fondling each other in the victim’s room over a three-week period in 2011, said Deputy District Attorney Paul Greenwood.
The video footage — which captured 50 incidents of neglect — was leaked to the Internet before the defendants were charged with a crime, he said.
Ruiz’s attorney, Dan Greene, said his client was ashamed of his conduct, which the attorney agreed was “indecent, immoral and absolutely wrong.”
Greene said Ruiz has “shamed” his two young children by his aberrant behavior, in what the attorney called a “tremendous fall from grace.”
“He has lost everything,” Greene said of his client.
According to the victim’s grandchildren, they paid for in-home care because their grandmother was afraid of hospitals. When the family complained to the defendants about concerns they had, Ruiz and Torralba said the family needed to trust them, said Eduardo Deicas, the victim’s grandson.
Deicas said the defendants also placed his grandmother — who’s now 102 – – naked against a window and that Torralba was seen in her room parading around in a towel.
“Will probation for these two animals really do justice?” the grandson asked.
Ariela Deicas chastised the defendants for putting her grandmother’s life at risk.
“How dare you hold a nursing license and mock the nursing profession,” the granddaughter told the defendants. “As a family, we’re torn apart emotionally.”
As part of probation, the defendants are barred from seeking employment as caregivers in any capacity, the judge said.
Walsh said nurses are expected to treat people with respect and dignity and must maintain a high level of trust.
“A nurse is supposed to be a caregiver,” the judge said. “There was a lack of caring here.”