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ELDER JUSTICE VICTORY: Criminal Conviction & Sentencing of Sexual Abuser Bradley Thomas
By: Rebecca Ruiz
San Diego's Superior Court's Judge Maino delivered justice for two vulnerable women who were raped by an 18-year old dishwasher-cum-caregiver - Bradley Thomas. CARR attended the sentencing hearing in Dept 1302 on 29 August 2019 and was privileged to sit among victims' family members and law enforcement personnel as the sentence was delivered: 8 years in prison. This is a triumph for elder justice advocates and for the District Attorney's Office - specifically Scott Pirrello. It may go on to serve as an example for DA's around the state to aggressively pursue criminal actions against individuals who commit crimes inside California's assisted living facilities (also called residential care facilities for the elderly - RCFEs).
This sentencing hearing (and, trial, in fact) was a long time coming. The rapes occurred over three years ago inside Elmcroft of Point Loma. CARR first learned of the rape through its harvesting of the public record at Community Care Licensing. The state's Facility Evaluation Report dated September 22, 2016 documents the discovery of Mr. Thomas by another caregiver; he was '. . . observed with his private parts exposed to the resident in close proximity. . ." Thomas was terminated from the facility's employ, and was escorted off the premises by San Diego Police Department. It was revealed during the trial, that during questioning, and following forensic analysis of his personal property, that another woman's DNA was associated to him.
As typically happens, the case triggered an Administrative Law proceeding against Thomas by the Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing's Legal Division. On May 10, 2017, pursuant to the Administrative Law Procedures Act, an Accusation for Exclusion was initiated by the agency. In the document, the state alleges that Thomas violated the personal rights of a resident, that he entered the client's room, removed her clothing and exposed the client's genitalia for prurient purposes, that his behavior was lewd and lascivious, that his actions were abusive and undertaken to provide Thomas with sexual gratification, his actions with the client were non-consensual, and that his actions violated the bounds of the caregiver/client relationship. His conduct was found to be "inimical", for which the state petitioned the Administrative Law Judge to prohibit Thomas, for life, to have any association, employment, or presence in, or any ownership interest in, any licensed facility.
In CARR's observation of the public record for the last 10+ years, this is where we usually see the story end. The perpetrator of a crime circumvents the criminal justice system. While the ban, in theory, prevents the perpetrator from having any association with a licensed care facility for life, there are loopholes.
- The perpetrator can petition the state for a rescission to the order after the twelfth month following the Decision and Order date.
- The Administrative action is a life-time exclusion that only prevents the perpetrator from working inside a licensed care facility. It does not prevent the bad actor from working privately for families or in an unlicensed care setting.
CARR's advocacy position is that it should not take three years to get to a sentencing hearing, nor should it be so difficult to prosecute crimes committed inside assisted living facilities. CARR's advocacy surrounding this case extended to filing a letter with the judge outlining our sentencing goals, and the reasons we believed a long sentence was justified. CARR was proud to help facilitate justice for these two women. Thomas is now banned from ever working in a licensed care facility, AND (thanks to the DA and Judge Maino) he is now also a convicted and sentenced sex offender, joining others on California's Megan's List.
To see our public documents on the case, please visit CARR's Facebook posts, they further round out the story.