Co-owner of care home pleads guilty to two counts of elder sex abuse
An 80-year-old man has pleaded guilty to two counts of having committed a lewd act on a dependent adult as a caretaker, and is set to be sentenced Friday to probation in Nevada County Superior Court.
Joseph Albert Linhares, listed as a co-owner of Banner Crest Care Home, was arrested in early March on charges that he sexually abused a 94-year-old woman at the facility in the 12000 block of Cascade Way, Nevada City.
Linhares pleaded guilty last week to the two counts, which reflected two known dates of abuse of Feb. 22 and 26, noted Superior Court Judge Robert Tice-Raskin.
The judge indicated that he intends to sentence Linhares to two years and eight months in state prison, which will be suspended. Linhares would be placed on a five-year probation term with conditions to include registration as a sex offender, a prohibition from entering any facility for the care of the elderly, and a prohibition against being left unattended in the presence of any dependent female.
Linhares would also be sentenced to 364 days in custody, with credit for time served. Because he already has served time in excess of the potential sentence, Tice-Raskin agreed to his release under supervision by the probation department.
Linhares entered an open plea, meaning no agreement as to sentencing was reached with the District Attorney’s Office.
Tice-Raskin called the crimes “serious and deplorable,” noting that Linhares held a position of trust at the time. The victim was particularly vulnerable, a woman in hospice care who suffered from severe dementia and who was bed-ridden and mostly non-communicative, the judge said.
Linhares moved a monitor in an effort to avoid detection and later admitted to a relative he knew his actions were wrong, Tice-Raskin continued.
The judge did note that Linhares has no prior criminal history.
If Linhares fails to appear for sentencing or violates his pre-sentencing supervision, he could face a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison, the judge warned.
Banner Crest remains open, state records show.
According to the state Senior Care Licensing Program website, Banner Crest self-reported the incident involving Linhares on Feb. 27. The care facility has been assessed a civil penalty of $10,000, the website states.
Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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