Nursing Home Aide Convicted For Raping 90-year-old Resident

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that William Morrison, a former aide at the Rome Memorial Hospital Residential Health Care Facility, was found guilty of raping and sexually assaulting a 90-year-old resident of the nursing home.

A jury convicted Mr. Morrison, 46, of Utica, of three felonies after a five-day trial conducted before Judge Michael L. Dwyer in Oneida County Court.  Morrison was found guilty of Rape in the First Degree, a class B felony, Sexual Abuse in the First Degree, a class D felony, and Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person, a class E felony.

Mr. Morrison had been employed by Rome Memorial Hospital, in Rome, New York, for several months before he transferred to hospital’s affiliated 80-bed nursing home.  This crime was committed approximately two weeks after that transfer.

When Mr. Morrison began to work at the nursing home, the home sought to perform a criminal background check, but that process had not been completed before Mr. Morrison raped the elderly resident.  Such a background check would have revealed that Mr. Morrison had previously been convicted of one felony drug offense in 1992 and several misdemeanors in the 1990s.  His last conviction was for a misdemeanor drug offense in 1999.

“This horrific crime illustrates how important it is for nursing homes to secure criminal history checks before allowing individuals to care for their residents,” said Attorney General Cuomo.  “Had the nursing home known of Morrison’s criminal history, it is possible that this nightmarish crime might have been avoided.  We are continuing to examine whether my office should take any action against the home.”  

Upon learning of the alleged incident, administrators at the nursing home immediately transferred the victim to the hospital for an examination.  The Rome Police Department initiated an investigation, during which DNA evidence implicated the defendant.  The nursing home immediately terminated Mr. Morrison and has cooperated fully throughout the investigation and the trial.

Sentencing of Mr. Morrison is scheduled for April 18, 2007.  He faces a sentence of up to 25 years in state prison.

Cuomo thanked the Oneida County District Attorney’s office and the Rome Police Department for their cooperation in the investigation.

This case was prosecuted by the Syracuse Regional Director for the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Ralph D. Tortora III, under the direction of Deputy Attorney General-In-Charge of Medicaid Fraud, William Comiskey.  Special Investigator Christopher M. Burns from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Detective Timothy Bates from the Rome Police Department conducted the investigation.