- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Nursing Assistant Charged With Sexually Assaulting Two Elderly Nursing Home Residents
WOBURN — A certified nursing assistant (CNA) has been charged with sexually assaulting two elderly nursing home residents at Bear Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Wakefield and Knollwood Nursing Center in Worcester while he worked overnight shifts, Attorney General Maura Healey and Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today.
Charles Wachira, age 40, of Lowell, was indicted by a Worcester County Grand Jury on Aug. 13 on charges of Indecent Assault and Battery Upon an Elder (2 counts) and Annoying and Accosting Persons (1 count). He was arraigned on those charges today in Worcester Superior Court, where he pleaded not guilty. Judge Janet Kenton Walker released him on personal recognizance with the following conditions: no work or volunteering as a CNA during the pendency of the case; no work or volunteering in nursing homes, rest homes, or in the health care field; no work or volunteering with anyone over 60 years of age; no work or volunteering with disabled individuals; and do not leave the state without permission form the court. Wachira is due back in Worcester Superior Court on Oct. 13 for a pre-trial conference.
Wachira was also indicted by a Middlesex County Grand Jury on July 20 on one count each of Indecent Assault and Battery Upon an Elder, Attempted Indecent Assault and Battery, and Annoying and Accosting Persons. He will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on those charges at a later date.
The AG’s Office has notified the Massachusetts Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification, which is the licensing authority for CNAs, about the charges against Wachira and the court-ordered conditions of release.
These charges are the result of a joint investigation between the AG’s Office and the Middlesex DA’s Office. The AG’s Office became involved in the matter after being contacted by the Middlesex DA’s Office, which had an active investigation into an incident at Bear Hill in Wakefield and became aware of a similar allegation at Knollwood in Worcester.
Wachira worked as a CNA and received assignments at nursing facilities through CNA placement agencies, often working the evening and overnight shifts. As a CNA, Wachira was responsible for changing, bathing, feeding, toileting, and assisting incontinent nursing facility residents.
The AG’s Office alleges that, in February 2020, Wachira entered the room of an elderly female resident at Knollwood and began to wash her, despite the resident being able to do so on her own. While washing the victim, Wachira allegedly sexually assaulted her.
The investigation also revealed that Wachira allegedly sexually assaulted another nursing home resident at Bear Hill in February 2021. Authorities allege that Wachira entered the room of the elderly resident, who did not need assistance with toileting or incontinence, and sexually assaulted the victim after he said he needed to “measure” her.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division has the authority to investigate and prosecute abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of nursing home residents. Anyone who is aware of similar conduct at long-term care facilities should call the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Division at (617) 963-2360 or file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/mfd.
This case is being prosecuted by Senior Trial Counsel Elisha Willis and Managing Attorney Gregory Matthews, both of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division, and Special Assistant Attorney General Heidi Gosule of the Middlesex DA’s Office and was investigated by Senior Healthcare Fraud Investigator Shelby Stephens of the AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division, with assistance from Victim Witness Advocate Leia Kaplan of the Middlesex DA’s Office and Victim Witness Advocate Lia Panetta of the AG’s Office. The Wakefield and West Boylston Police Departments also provided assistance throughout the investigation. The AG’s Office received substantial cooperation and assistance throughout its investigation from Bear Hill and Knollwood nursing homes.
The AG’s Medicaid Fraud Division is a Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, annually certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to investigate and prosecute health care providers who defraud the Medicaid program (MassHealth). The Medicaid Fraud Division also has jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute complaints of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of residents in long-term care facilities, as well as abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of MassHealth members in connection with the provision of Medicaid services in any setting.
The Medicaid Fraud Division receives 75 percent of its funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under a grant award. The remaining 25 percent is funded by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.