Nursing Home Aide Convicted For Raping 90 Year-old Resident Sentenced To 25 Years In Prison

April 18, 2007 – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the sentencing of William Morrison, a former aide at the Rome Memorial Hospital Residential Health Care Facility, who was convicted last month of raping and sexually assaulting a 90-year-old resident of the nursing home.

Morrison, 46, of Utica, was sentenced to 25 years in prison followed by 5 years’ post-release supervision for his conviction of Rape in the First Degree (a class B felony); 7 years in prison followed by 3 years’ post-release supervision for his conviction of Sexual Abuse in the First Degree (a class D felony); and 1 1/3-to-4 years in prison for his conviction of Endangering the Welfare of a Vulnerable Elderly Person (a class E felony). The sentences, which will run concurrently, were issued by Judge Michael L. Dwyer in Oneida County Court. Morrison was convicted of the three felonies on March 2 after a five-day trial before Judge Dwyer.

Morrison was an employee at Rome Memorial Hospital for several months before being transferred to the hospital’s affiliated 80-bed nursing home. The crime was committed approximately two weeks after the transfer. Rome Memorial Hospital Residential Health Care Facility intended to perform a criminal background check when Morrison was transferred, but it was not completed before he raped the elderly resident. The background check would have revealed that Morrison was previously convicted for one felony drug offense in 1992 and several misdemeanors in the 1990s. His last conviction was for a misdemeanor drug offense in 1999.

“Today’s sentencing brings to a close the criminal proceedings stemming from a sad and reprehensible act that may have been prevented,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Mr. Morrison’s history should have been discovered before putting him near vulnerable residents. While the pain suffered by the victim and family is immeasurable, I hope they can find some solace in knowing that Mr. Morrison will spend the next 25 years behind bars.”

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

The Oneida County District Attorney’s office and the Rome Police Department assisted in the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Ralph D. Tortora III, Syracuse Regional Director for the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, headed by Special Deputy Attorney General Heidi Wendel. Special Investigator Christopher M. Burns from the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and Detective Timothy Bates from the Rome Police Department conducted the investigation.