Originally published in Castine Patriot, May 1, 2014
Sexual assault charge filed over Penobscot Nursing Home incident
by Anne Berleant
A former employee of the Penobscot Nursing Home was charged on April 9 with gross sexual assault, a Class B felony.
Sara Comtois, a 22-year-old Castine resident, was arrested by Detective Jeffrey Wrigley of the Maine Attorney General’s Office and taken to the Hancock County Jail. She was released on April 10 after posting $2,500 cash bail.
The Attorney General’s Office “has no comment on this pending case,” wrote Special Assistant Tim Feeley in a response to a Castine Patriot request for information.
Court papers list the specific charge as §253-2(C) of Title 17-A of the Maine Revised Statutes: “A person is guilty of gross sexual assault if that person engages in a sexual act with another person and:
“The other person suffers from mental disability that is reasonably apparent or known to the actor, and which in fact renders the other person substantially incapable of appraising the nature of the contact involved or of understanding that the person has the right to deny or withdraw consent.”
The victim named in the papers is a 75-year-old male.
“Please know that immediate and corrective steps were taken by the Administrator, as soon as she became aware of a concern,” wrote Penobscot Nursing Home Administrator Janice McManus-Rackliffe in a press release, calling the incident “an isolated occurrence” and that “we are not at liberty, at this time, to disclose any particulars of this occurrence.”
When contacted by the Castine Patriot, McManus-Rackliffe declined to say exactly when Comtois was fired from her position or what position she held.
Conditions of Comtois’ release are that she not work in a health care center or have contact with nursing home residents or staff.
She is scheduled to appear in Hancock Superior Court in Ellsworth on May 6.