Amado Ceniza was found not guilty of three counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual exploitation of a disabled person in the Provincial Court of B.C. on Monday morning. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

Vancouver Island care aide accused of sexually abusing patients not guilty

‘Reasonable doubt remains,’ said the judge

A care aide worker accused of sexually abusing three patients at Aberdeen Hospital was found not guilty in the Provincial Court of British Columbia on Monday morning.

Amado Ceniza was accused of three counts of sexual assault and three counts of sexual exploitation of a persons with a disability. The alleged assaults took place in July of 2018 during perineal care — usually called peri care — or the washing of a patient’s genitals and anal area to prevent skin breakdown or skin irritation.

RELATED: Care aide accused of sex assault rubbed lotion on patients’ genitals, B.C. court hears

According to the judge all three complainants, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, were high functioning, intelligent and competent adults, who he called brave. The first complainant, in her 70s, said Ceniza rubbed lotion on her genitals and then told her she would never see him again. She told the courts that he then proceeded to hug her tightly and try to kiss her.

The second complainant, in her 80s, who’s bed was in the same room as the first complainant only separated by a curtain, could not identify the man who allegedly sexual assaulted her because at the time of the assault she “froze” and did not open her eyes. The details of her assault echoed those of the first complainant — lotion being rubbed on her genitals.

The third complainant said similarly that lotion was to be applied to the top of her legs and inner thighs as part of peri care but that the accused had rubbed lotion on her genitals as well.

READ ALSO: Man convicted of sexual assault once behind non-profit fighting ‘sexually exploitative behaviour’

The crown made an application for similar fact evidence which would establish conditions under which factual evidence of past misconduct of the accused could be admitted at trial for the purpose of inferring the accused committed the misconduct at issue. That application was denied by the judge, who said there was “an air of reality” in regard to the concern of unintentional collusion in the case based on the differences in each complainant’s story, their physical proximity and conversations prior to trial.

The judge told the courts that Ceniza’s testimony was very detailed in his recollection. Ceniza admitted that he did tell one of the complainants that he wouldn’t see her again, but only because she was getting transferred and he was not scheduled often. In this case, the onus was on the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ceniza had in fact committed the alleged assaults and according to the judge — “reasonable doubt remains.”

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