BRUNSWICK, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- As our loved ones get older, sometimes we have to make decisions for them. Depending on their physical or mental abilities some families might need to hire a home-care worker or find a nursing home for their loved ones. This is never an easy choice, yet our older adults in our community are targets for elder abuse. Sadly, more than 33,000 elderly Mainers are abused each year, according to Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention. That isn't limited to financial exploitation, physical or sexual abuse.
We are bringing you a story of a woman whose grandfather was sexually abused in 2006 at a nursing home. The Marro family believed their grandfather's dementia was setting in and clogging his thoughts. As his health declined, they felt a Brunswick nursing home located in their neighborhood would be a safe place for him to live.
His granddaughter Kate Marro never thought he would be a victim.
"I remember one time him sitting there and he had a small room and a partial bathroom and he looked up and he said, 'It did it happened. It happened right there last night.' and he pointed to the bathroom."
At 89-years-old, Albert Wagner was trying to tell his family that a nursing home worker was abusing him. During Kate Marro's visits, Albert would describe the sexual favors happening at Mid-Coast Senior Health Center in Brunswick. And Kate thought it was his declining health talking. He was suffering from dementia and he was legally blind and partially deaf.
"And my grandfather, being old fashion, using old fashion words, would describe it as a burly man who was taking sexual favors from him."
Months of abuse happened before a nursing home employee caught Charles Trout in the act. Brunswick Police Captain Mark Waltz said Trout, a man in his 70's at the time, was convicted of three previous crimes.
"Kate's grandfather got picked on in a case like this because the victim was the person that could not report or be taken seriously."
In 1963, Trout was conviction for assault and battery, criminal trespass conviction in 1994, and was convicted in Largo, Florida for lewd and lascivious behavior in 1985.
Trout was convicted of sexually abusing Albert Wagner. Through this family ordeal, Kate worked with law enforcement and several governmental agencies on getting a law passed to re-write the definition of sex offender. In the past, if an abuser harmed a person 18 years or younger, they had to register online as a sex offender.
Now, the law states if a victim is dependent on someone's care, then the abuser has to register online too.
Unfortunately, many stories go undetected. Maine Council for Elder Abuse Prevention have some tips to reduce elder abuse: always be a part of the care planning, know who works at the nursing home, and visit at different times.
If you know of someone being abused, call the Adult Protective Service at 1-800-624-8404. Police also said things can fall through the cracks, so if you are being abused - tell people repeatedly until someone hears you.