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Ventura County

Camarillo nursing home director charged for failing to report sexual abuse

MGN Online

VENTURA, Calif. - The former director of an assisted living facility in Camarillo has been charged for failing to report sexual abuse at her facility after two residents reported being sexually assaulted by a caregiver.

Lisa Cohen, 54, of Oak Park was charged for failing to report the abuse which is alleged to have happened in October 2020, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

Cohen was the director of the Royal Gardens Assisted Living Facility. The nursing home is linked to a string of sexual crimes committed by a man who previously worked as a caretaker at the facility. Joel Gonzales, 24, was arrested in January, accused of sexually assaulting two elderly residents at the assisted living center. He faces charges for assault with intent to commit rape, kidnapping and lewd acts upon a dependent person.

At the time of those charges being filed, he was already in custody for attempted murder after he was accused of strangling a 6-year-old girl.

Family of one of the victims reported the attack to employees of the facility. Another victim came forward to report additional abuse.

Investigators determined that employees of the facility reported the abuse to Royal Gardens' administrative staff, but said the administrators, including Cohen, did not report the crimes to law enforcement or adult protective services as required by law.

Elder or dependent adult care custodians are among a handful of positions that are considered to be "mandated reporters," meaning they are required by law to report instances of neglect or abuse. They are required to report the abuse as soon as possible to Adult Protective Services, but no later than two working days, the DA's office said.

Cohen appeared in Ventura County Superior Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to the charges. She is currently out of custody after posting bail but is due back in court June 25.

Gonzales, the man accused of committing the sexual assaults, has pleaded not guilty to those charges. He remains in custody.

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Travis Schlepp

Travis Schlepp is the Digital Content Director for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Travis, click here.

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