The Good Samaritan Dr. Gerald Zetter Care Centre at 9649 71 Ave. in Edmonton, Alberta on Wednesday, July 4, 2012.
Credits: AMBER BRACKEN/QMI AGENCY
Both patients were in the man's care at the Dr. Gerald Zetter Care Centre between 2011 and 2012.
Police say the assaults occurred over the last two years. One of the victims is a 33-year-old man who is a severely disabled patient. The other man has since died, police said.
In a memo released Wednesday to the centre's staff, residents and their families, regional director of operations Val Sorby said they are in the process of conducting an internal investigation into the alleged sexual assaults.
"We are as shocked as everyone else," Sorby said. "The Good Samaritan Society does not condone abuse of any kind and dealt with the situation as soon as it came to our attention."
The memo says the employee involved was immediately removed from his position.
Brandon William Trevor Harper, 25, is facing three counts of sexual assault.
Harper's Facebook page shows he's worked as a nursing assistant for the Good Samaritan Society since 2008. He also attended Norquest College.
A man who's been a resident at the centre for several years thought it was odd that Harper had been charged. Harper had been his caregiver several times over the past few years, the man said, and the two had established a rapport.
The man described him as "a young guy who seemed nice, yet immature in a way." He saw Harper on Monday and said he seemed fine, although he had heard Harper was "distraught" during a shift last week.
The resident, who didn't want his name published, said police had visited the care facility twice on Tuesday but no one was aware why they were there.
The man said he wasn't surprised by the allegations. He's heard stories of disabled residents being assaulted by their caregivers before, but never at the Dr. Gerald Zetter Care Centre.
"Many of the people here are pretty much helpless," said the man, who did not know if any of his fellow residents were the alleged victims.
"Some are older and have dementia so it's hard to say if it's even true. People have said things here that turn out to be untrue," he said.
An 86-year-old woman who has been a resident at the Dr. Gerald Zetter Care Centre since last September said she's never felt uneasy or afraid around her caregivers before. The news of the sexual assault charges, however, didn't comfort the new arrival.
"When I heard about it I got kind of scared because I get a lot of male nurses," the senior said, adding she did not remember ever working with Harper.
"I don't argue with them, I just try and get along with them."
It isn't the first time caregivers from the centre have been alleged to be abusive. A complaint published by the Elder Advocates of Alberta from 2005 alleges a 41-year-old man was hit in the shoulder and screamed at by his caregiver.
This facility has designated beds for the short-term admission of people who are normally cared for at home as well as sub-acute rehabilitation beds for individuals who require intensive rehabilitation and are limited to a nine-month maximum length of stay.
Most residents have complex health needs and require 24 hour on-site services from a registered nurse. Continuing care facilities offer an alternative to acute care, and provide respite services and special programs such as dialysis.
The facility was renamed to honour Dr. Zetter who served as chief of medical staff at The Good Samaritan Society for 25 years from 1974 to 1999.
--With files from Pamela Roth