99-year-old hospital patient sexually assaulted

Danielle Bell, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:38 PM ET

OTTAWA — A 44-year-old former hospital worker has been charged for allegedly sexually abusing a 99-year-old patient in his care.

Yves Laplante was arrested at his Gatineau, Que., home on Wednesday and charged with sexual exploitation and sexual assault. He appeared in court Thursday and was remanded into custody pending his next scheduled appearance Tuesday.

Laplante, who had been an orderly at the Hull Hospital for nearly seven years, was suspended as allegations surfaced Sept. 18. He was subsequently fired two days later as police launched their investigation.

"I think just the fact of her condition and age (this case) is disturbing. It is uncommon," said Gatineau police Sgt. Jean-Paul Le May, adding the accused was observed by other employees. "It's certain actions or curious behaviour that led employees of the hospital to speak out to the administration."

The elderly woman, who had been hospitalized since late August, has diminished mental and physical capacity, and unable to consent to any sexual touching. She was also dependent on the accused, police said.

There is nothing to indicate any other assaults took place, police said.

It was thanks to the vigilance of hospital staff that charges were able to be laid, said police, who describe the allegations as "touching and gestures" of a sexual nature.

Hospital staff are "very troubled" by the allegations, according to officials, who are in the process of looking to boost background checks of employees.

Currently, hospital employees don't undergo any type of police check, said to Sylvain Dube, of Health and Social Services Centre Gatineau.

"We always have to be vigilant," said Dube, who's unaware of any similar cases in his five-year stint.

A patient who spent eight weeks at Hull Hospital said Thursday the alleged assault is shocking.

"It makes me ill to my stomach," said the man, who didn't want his name used. "How can they allow that?"

The man, who said he was on the eighth floor where the victim also stayed, said a camera was installed after concerns were brought forward to staffers.

Police said hospital employees took "certain actions" before coming forward, but would not confirm any video surveillance.

More than 700 employees are hired for the hospital each year, Dube said.

An orderly's duties include bathing of patients and other basic care.

danielle.bell@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @ottawasundbell


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