A male nurse accused of fondling a 98-year-old paralyzed stroke patient in California has been arrested in B.C.
A male nurse accused of fondling a 98-year-old paralyzed stroke patient in California has been arrested after officials learned he was caring for a disabled child in B.C.
Russel Torralba is wanted in California for a 2011 incident where he and another male nurse were apparently masturbating and groping each other in front of an elderly patient’s bed in the nursing home they worked for.
The men were also seen on video surveillance exposing themselves and kissing the senior, who is unable to speak or move her hands because of a stroke she suffered several years ago.
The Canada Border Services Agency says Torralba was arrested last week in Vancouver after working with U.S. authorities and the Vancouver Police Department.
“It was pretty heinous,” said CBSA Officer Chris Schwartz, who arrested Torralba. “Abusing an elderly woman who was unable to defend herself. To have him caring for a minor child, who knows what he could be doing to that child. That’s why we caught him as quick as we could.”
U.S. Marshals contacted CBSA on Jan. 9 saying they believed the suspect was in the Vancouver area. After conducting a background check, CBSA confirmed Torralba had entered Canada via a land border in August last year.
Torralba was interviewed by border officials, who let him pass because at the time there was no warrant issued for Torralba’s arrest, Schwartz said.
“He was examined and authorized entry as a visitor,” he said.
Enforcement officers say they located Torralba working illegally as a caregiver at a residence on Marine Drive, caring for a disabled child the day after being contacted by American authorities.
A spokesperson for the CBSA says the child was taken into the care of the Ministry of Child and Family Development after it learned of Torralba’s history in the U.S.
Torralba’s roommate, Angelica Lopez, said she didn’t suspect anything.
“I don’t believe it, right now, I’m so scared,” she said, adding the arrest was a surprise. “It was a traumatic experience – I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Torralba was stripped of his nurses’ licence in July by the California Board of Registered Nursing, which lists allegations of the abuse as facts in a disciplinary hearing.
“Respondent admits the truth of each and every charge and allegation.. agrees that cause exists for discipline and hereby agrees to the revocation of his registered nurse licence,” the board’s order reads.
Torralba has not been convicted criminally in the U.S., although he faces charges of “Elder neglect by a caregiver under circumstances likely to cause bodily harm” and “Willful and Lewd Act upon a Dependent Person by a Caretaker” in California