A 57-year-old multiple stroke victim was molested by a man, who worked as an employee of a nursing home. The court found the accused guilty of one count of outraging a woman's modesty and he was sentenced to 22 months of imprisonment, with three strokes of the cane on Tuesday, May 22.
The victim was 55 when the incident took place. She had difficulties while moving or speaking and she had to use adult diapers when she was admitted in that nursing home. Due to the gag order, the names of the victim, the accused and the nursing home are kept confidential.
During the hearing, the judge came to know that on November 26, 2016, a female nurse was out for around when she noticed that the curtains at the victim's room were drawn. It was quite unusual, as only during changing the diapers the employees used to cover the room with curtains.
She went inside to find out what was the issue and heard cries of the victim. She saw her 34-year-old colleague while strangling the female patient, who was then lying on her back on the bed. The nurse also told the court that she saw the trouser of the man was pulled down to his thighs and the victim's trouser was also lowered, including the left side of her diaper was also removed.
The man did not know that the nurse was in the same room but she testified that she recognised the accused as a housekeeping employee after she saw a part of his face. Later the witness of this incident reported the management of the nursing home and then police were asked to investigate the case.
The victim had been staying at the nursing home for over five years. During the 14-days trial, the victim was found to be unfit due to her mental disability to provide legal consent to any sexual act. But, the court came to know from a psychiatrist that the woman showed signs of distress and broke down several times while recollecting her experience when the accused pulled her pants down and touched her inappropriately.
N. K. Anitha, the Deputy Public Prosecutor of this case told the court that it was sheer fortuity that the employee was captured while performing a criminal act against a defenceless victim.
However, the accused, who is married and the father of a daughter had denied all the allegations. He told the court that on that day he went to the patient's room to repair another patient's television set. In addition, he said the nurse had mistaken, as she just gave a glance to him and he was quite tired at that time after having over eight hours shift.
The accused mentioned that he had once scolded the nurse for dropping fresh vegetables on the floor and failed to help the eyewitness to resolve an accommodation issue. So, the accused claimed that the nurse might have put her story because of the incidents that happened earlier. As the man said, he was working at the same nursing home since 2010 and never received a single complaint against him. He will appeal against his conviction and sentence.
In the country, if a person found guilty under Section 354 Penal Code which stated that whoever assaults or uses criminal force on any person, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby outrage the modesty of that person, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to 2 years, or with fine, or with caning, or with any combination of these.