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Post date: September 29 2008

Attorney General Cuomo Announces Arrest Of Nursing Home Aide For Sexually Abusing Physically Disabled Patient

ALBANY, N.Y. (September 29, 2008) – Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the arrest of a Capital Region Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) for sexually abusing a physically disabled patient at the Eddy Ford Nursing Home in Cohoes.

Robert Gundersen, 51, of Route 145 in Middleburgh, is charged with sexual abuse in the 1st degree (class D felony) and forcible touching (class A misdemeanor). He was arraigned before Judge Richard A. McGuire in Cohoes City Court and was remanded to the Albany County Jail on $20,000 bail. If convicted, he faces up to 7 years in prison and would have to register as a sex offender.

“When those entrusted with caring for our vulnerable loved ones instead physically or sexually abuse them, it is alarming and repugnant,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “My office will work to ensure that these types of predators are identified, prosecuted, and kept away from our health care facilities.”

Gundersen is employed by Northeast Nursing Staff Service, LLC of Glenmont. According to court papers, he was assigned to Eddy Ford in August and September 2008. During that time he was caring for a wheelchair-bound woman with Multiple Sclerosis. The patient is unable to control her movements and needs considerable help and assistance for her daily needs.

According to court papers, on the night of September 2 Gundersen entered the victim’s room and forcibly kissed and inserted his tongue in her mouth. The victim did not reciprocate or consent to the contact. The victim attempted to push him away but was unable to because of her physical limitations.

The charges against Gundersen are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

The case is being handled by Special Assistant Attorney General Kathleen Boland, under the supervision of Albany Regional Director Richard Harrow, First Assistant Attorney General Monica Hickey-Martin and Special Deputy Attorney General Heidi Wendel, all of the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU). The investigation was conducted by MFCU Senior Special Investigator Antoine J. Karam.