COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) – A Coventry man has been ordered held without bail after he was accused of sexually assaulting an elderly woman in a nursing home.
Francis Kinsey, 74, faced a judge Tuesday afternoon. The judge ordered him to undergo an evaluation to determine if he’s mentally competent to stand trial.
Coventry Police arrested Kinsey on Saturday after an employee at the Coventry Center Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation home reported witnessing him sexually assaulting an 80-year-old woman.
Kinsey, who police said was a resident at the nursing home, was charged with first degree sexual assault.
Police said Kinsey has also been awaiting trial for a 2012 child molestation case out of Charlestown.
Amy Kempe, spokesperson for Attorney General Peter Kilmartin, said that case has been delayed while Kinsey has been in the nursing home with significant medical problems. He appeared in court Tuesday in a wheelchair and missing one of his legs.
“The safety of the patients and residents in our skilled nursing center is our number one priority,” said Jeanne Moore, a spokesperson for the Coventry Center. “When we receive a report like this from any source, be it patient, family or one of our employees, we investigate the allegation and report it to local law enforcement and the Department of Health as appropriate.”
Moore declined to comment on whether the center knew about Kinsey’s previous charges, or whether the center conducts any sort of background check before admitting patients.
Kathy Heren, the state’s long-term care ombudsman who advocates for the elderly, said she was notified about the alleged assault on Saturday. She called the case “very unusual,” and said the nursing home was not aware of the pending charges against Kinsey.
Heren said she often advises nursing homes on a case-by-case basis when a criminal offender is requesting to be admitted to the home. In most cases, she said, offenders live out their days in the homes without a problem.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said there are no state regulations about admitting criminals or alleged criminals into nursing homes.
Carolyn Medeiros, the executive director of the Alliance for Safe Communities, said she wants nursing homes to be able to place surveillance cameras in the rooms of residents. She pushed for a 2013 bill that would have allowed the cameras, with permission from the resident’s family. It did not pass after groups like the ACLU testified against it, citing privacy concerns.
“The worst case scenario is an 80-year-old woman facing something like this,” Medeiros said in an interview with Eyewitness News. “It’s just unthinkable.”
She also suggested housing sexual offenders–out on bail or convicted–in separate housing from the rest of the elderly population.
“I don’t believe he should’ve been put in a facility with innocent, elderly people,” she said. “Would you want your grandmother….or your mother subjected to this?”
Heren said there currently isn’t anywhere else for alleged criminals or convicted felons to go for nursing home care, but said she would support a separate dedicated facility for certain offenders to live out their days. She said she often deals with ACI inmates being released into nursing home care.
Heren also said she opposed the surveillance cameras, also known as “granny cams.” She said it’s difficult to make sure that a resident’s roommate is not recorded on the camera if they have chosen to opt out of the surveillance program, and she said residents may not agree with the decisions their families make for them regarding the cameras.
Kinsey is due back in court for a competency hearing on Oct. 31.