NEWARK – The state reviewed reports of several people in positions of trust and suspended their licenses to do their job. Among them was an employee of a local senior community who is charged with inappropriately touching a memory care resident.
On May 21, Jackson police responded to Sunrise Senior Living on North County Line Road on the report of an employee who was witnessed touching an 84-year-old victim inappropriately, police said.
Michael Edwards, a.k.a. Michael A. Donaldson, 32, of Manchester was charged with aggravated criminal sexual contact. He was processed and later released on a summons pending a court appearance and was also advised that he was not welcome back on the property. Charges are merely accusations until proven in a court of law.
His license was temporarily suspended pending the outcome of his criminal case, the State Division of Consumer Affairs said.
His employment at the facility had already been terminated, and police said that upon learning of the incident, administrative staff took immediate action to safeguard the victim.
He was one of eight certified homemaker-home health aides who were sanctioned by the State Board of Nursing for crimes allegedly committed on or off the job.
This comes as the Division of Consumer Affairs reviews how its 51 professional boards address allegations involving sexual misconduct and abuse of others.
“It’s an egregious abuse of trust when any licensee sexually preys on a patient or client, but it is especially heinous when the victim is an elderly individual under their care,” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “The actions announced today underscore both the need for our professional boards to remain vigilant in protecting vulnerable patients, as well as the importance of the review they are presently undertaking to better protect victims and hold licensees accountable for their actions.”