An employee of the Brookshire Assisted Living Facility in Melbourne has been arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a patient at the facility.
39-year-old Guettie Belizaire was arrested on Monday, April 8 and charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of an elderly person and abuse of an elderly person. She was booked at Brevard County Jail.
On December 13 of last year, Belizaire's coworkers contacted police shortly before 5 a.m. when they could not find her for almost two hours. Officers arrived and found Belizaire getting dressed in the patient's bathroom, according to police records.
The patient, who was suffering from multiple medical issues, told police that Belizaire had "sexually battered" him. A sexual assault kit and DNA test were then administered, and police say these confirmed the allegations.
A warrant was issued for Belizaire in March. It is not clear if she is still employed by the Brookshire.
Attorney contributor Michael Haggard has experience helping survivors in both criminal and civil courts - first as a prosecutor, and now as a civil attorney helping survivors and their families file lawsuits. Here are some thoughts from Michael on the legal options available to families affected by sexual abuse in assisted living facilities and nursing homes:
It's never easy when a loved one needs to move into an assisted living facility, but these facilities are a necessity for many American families. When this time comes, all of our elderly loved ones and neighbors deserve a place where they'll get the care they need and be treated with respect. Sadly, not all nursing homes and assisted living facilities provide quality care and respect. There have even been widespread issues of employees sexually abusing residents in nursing homes throughout the United States.
When a nursing home resident suffers abuse at the hands of an employee, the resident and their family deserve justice. Seeing the perpetrator held criminally responsible can provide a sense of justice, but the legal options for these families don't end there. In many cases, families affected by nursing home abuse have grounds for a lawsuit against the facility for failing to keep their loved ones safe.
Each nursing home abuse case is unique. If you or a loved one has recently been sexually abused at a nursing home or assisted living facility, you can learn more about your family's legal options by speaking with an experienced sex abuse survivors lawyer.