A Saanich man is charged with four counts of sexual assault investigators believe occured at Aberdeen Hospital on Hillside Avenue. Google

UPDATED: Sexual assault charges laid against B.C. care worker

Amado Ceniza, 39, of Vancouver Island faces four counts of sexual assault, four counts of sexual exploitation

This story has been updated from the original version (July 26, 12:25 p.m.).

Charges have been laid against a man who allegedly sexually assaulted seniors and people with disabilities at a Victoria care facility.

Amado Ceniza, 39, of Saanich has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and four counts of sexual exploitation of a person with a disability.

Ceniza was employed as a health care aide at Aberdeen Hospital at 1450 Hillside Ave. where the incidents are alleged to have occurred earlier this year. Staff were made aware of the alleged offences and upon reporting the incidents to police Ceniza was suspended from his position by the BC Care Aide and Community Health Worker Registry.

“[Ceniza] was suspended from the registry on July 17 because there was an Island Health employer submission with the allegation of abuse,” said Bruce Bell, registry director.

The process of the registry is to immediately remove an individual even though it’s an allegation, he said. “No questions asked, you’re removed.”

RELATED: Details scarce as union confirms probe underway involving Victoria care homes

Island Health was unable to confirm exactly when the incidents took place or how long they had occurred before being brought to the attention of staff and police.

“It’s a very serious incident and has had a profound effect on all individuals at the facility,” said Norm Peters, executive director of residential services for Island Health who called the nature of the assaults “a very serious, but rare occcurrence.”

Additional social work support for the individuals affected, their families and staff – including counselling services – has been made available, Peters said, and care aide hours have increased at Aberdeen.

“There is a very thorough vetting process for all employees especially those who work with vulnerable people,” he added, including a criminal check and reference checks.

In a statement released Wednesday, VicPD said Ceniza has not had access to patients at the Island Health facility since the allegations were made.

Ceniza appeared before a Judicial Justice of the Peace and was released on bail.

Under bail conditions he is not to have contact with any of the alleged victims, or come within a 200 metre radius of the Hillside Avenue facility. He is not to be alone in a room with anyone under the age of 18, the elderly, or anyone who is physically or mentally disabled.

He must not be in any care facility or home for a vulnerable population and must report to a bail supervisor.

Investigators have spoken with three victims but suspect there could be more and are urging anyone who has been the victim of a crime to call the non-emergency line at 250-995-7654.

Sexual assault can also be reported to a doctor, nurse or other health care provider, at an emergency room, through the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre at 250-383-3232 or through the Men’s Trauma Centre at 250-381-6367.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

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