According to a report from CNN, North Carolinian Luis Gomez has been convicted on six counts that included forcible rape with a physically helpless victim.
The report reveals the horrible details of the case, in which Gomez sexually assaulted numerous dementia-riddled or helpless victims while employed as an aide at nursing homes.
Victim testimony about the numerous rapes were often discounted as hallucinatory. Testimony from one victim eventually triggered an investigation into the situation, despite the reluctance of employees to report or look into the situation.
"I couldn't live with myself if I did not make the call," said Krista Shalda, the nurse who insisted on alerting the police, despite her boss's request not to. "I could not go to bed at night if I knew I was the reason someone was getting sexually assaulted."
"In 2016, Your Honor, he made the grave mistake of hurting the wrong woman. She was brave enough to tell, and she wouldn't be quiet until everybody listened. And because of her, that's the only reason that we are finally able to put him in prison," said a prosecutor.
"What this man has done for a period of almost a decade is ... prey on Alzheimer's patients because they're forgetful and they can't remember and oftentimes they die," the prosecutor added.
Although only two women have prevailed in their battle against Gomez, six more have come forward with accusations. Gomez continues to maintain his innocence and plans on appealing the decision.
"To this day, I would contend he never committed an act that was inappropriate to any of these people making these allegations," said Joel Schechet, Gomez's lawyer.
"He told me I'm untruthful, and I said, no I am not," said one of the unnamed victims, now 55, of Schechet's questioning. "He made me feel like I was a worm crawling on the ground."
The Brian Center, where some of the abuse occurred, was forced to pay a six-figure fine for failing to protect their residents. Gomez's record had technically been clean, despite having racked up accusations at three other facilities, all of which were considered unsubstantiated.
The stories of Gomez's accusations are quite horrific: One woman said he touched her while she was being cleaned but later said she might have been "confused." Another woman, living in the Alzheimer's wing (despite not suffering from Alzheimer's) said she awoke to Gomez touching her. Another accuser said she was "afraid" of coming forward with her story but has since passed away. Another who accused him was placed in a psychiatric unit. Another said she endured weeks of abuse. Another said she came forward with her story but no one believed her.
"The Lord loves you," said one of his accusers who appeared court. "Even though what you did is wrong, the Good Book says that I must love you, even though you did me wrong; and I do. I love you, and I pray that the others learn to forgive you and love you as I have. May you go in peace."
"It felt like a ton of bricks were off my shoulders," said his victim of the recent verdit. "I wanted to scream in the courtroom, 'Yeehaw!'"
Gomez faces at least 23 years in prison.
[Photo: Waynesville Police Department]