side view of empty hospital bed in clinic chamber
side view of empty hospital bed in clinic chamber

Blind bedridden woman allegedly raped by aged-care worker

A BLIND and partially-deaf woman living at a Townsville aged care facility was allegedly raped by a 21-year-old employee, while claiming she had endured sexual abuse since she arrived there.

The Bulletin can reveal the night shift aged care worker, one of three staff members working at the time, entered the bedridden victim's locked room on November 29 using a key, and under the guise of changing her incontinence pads, before raping her as she pleaded with him to stop.

The woman, who is partially deaf, blind, and bedridden due to her diabetes, complained to another employee in the morning that a man had come in the middle of the night and "used" her.

"It's not the first time. It's been going on since I got here, and it happened to me earlier this week, too," she said, according to court documents.

She was unable to physically identify her attacker, but DNA, including sperm, were located inside her vagina, and police will allege it matched the 21-year-old worker's.

But defence lawyers for the man - who has a clean juvenile and adult criminal history - in a failed bid to get him bail claim that there was a "third contributor" to the DNA that investigators found in the woman's vagina.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, no longer works at the facility and is behind bars awaiting his next court date.

Documents obtained by the Bulletin show Townsville Police detectives went to the aged care home on November 29, seized bedding, interviewed the woman and completed a rape kit, before interviewing the two other staff members the next day.

A forensic nurse at the scene found "significant" amounts of DNA.

Police arrested and charged the man after DNA results were returned two weeks later.

"(It) is of serious concern to police with the defendant using his position of trust to enable him to commit a heinous sexual act against a significantly older disabled victim in an aged care facility," police said in court documents.

A spokesman for the aged care facility, run by a nationwide not-for-profit organisation, did not answer questions from the Bulletin.

"As this matter is currently before the courts, and in the interest of resident privacy, it would be inappropriate for us to comment," he said.

Aged Care Quality and Safety Commissioner Janet Anderson said the peak government body took health, safety, and wellbeing of aged care residents very seriously and said providers were meant to report every allegation or suspicion of a reportable assault immediately. She did not confirm if this had been done.

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