Appellate Court Upholds Conviction Of Nurse's Aide Serving 25 Year Prison Term

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that John Horace, the Rochester nurse's aide who is serving a term of up to 25 years in prison for raping and sexually abusing a comatose nursing home patient, has lost an appeal of the case.

"The State Appellate Court has unanimously affirmed what twelve citizens concluded nearly four years ago - that Horace is guilty of one of the most horrific cases of patient abuse in this nation's history and that he should pay the price for his unspeakable crime," said Spitzer.

In July 1996, Horace was charged with raping the comatose patient at the nursing home where he briefly worked in 1995 before being terminated for fondling another patient. The 29-year-old woman, who has been in a chronic vegetative state since an automobile accident in 1985, gave birth to a baby boy on March 18, 1996. Evidence introduced at trial included court-ordered DNA testing of Horace's blood, establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that he was the father.

In February 1997, following a jury trial in Monroe County Court, Horace was convicted of Rape in the First Degree and Sexual Abuse in the First Degree. He was sentenced the following month to 8 1/3 to 25 years in State prison.

In conducting a criminal background check on Horace at that time, it was discovered that he previously had been convicted of fraud. In his nursing home employment application Horace failed to note any prior criminal convictions.

Spitzer has proposed legislation to require criminal background checks for all individuals seeking employment as home health or nurse's aides in the long-term health-care industry.

"It is disheartening to think that a simple background check may very well have prevented this tragedy from occurring," said Spitzer. "We owe it to all who reside in our State's nursing homes to take basic steps that could protect them from such violence and abuse."

Special Assistant Attorney General Jerry M. Solomon, the Director of the Rochester Office of the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU), prosecuted the case. Special Assistant Attorney General Bonnie H. Stein, Deputy Chief of the MFCU's Appeals Bureau, handled the appeal. All cases are filed under the direct supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jos? Maldonado.

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