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For Release:   May 17, 2010
For media inquiries only, contact: Brian J. Gottstein
Email: bgottstein@oag.state.va.us (best contact method)
Phone: 804-786-5874

Nursing Home Caregiver Sentenced for
Sexually Abusing Residents

- Gets 60-year prison term -

RICHMOND (May 17, 2010) -- A nursing assistant at a Southwest Virginia nursing home was sentenced Friday to 60 years in prison for aggravated sexual battery of four elderly patients who were in his care.

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced today that James W. Wright was sentenced by Judge Larry B. Kirksey in the Circuit Court for the City of Bristol to 60 years active incarceration for committing aggravated sexual battery against four elderly residents at National HealthCare, a nursing home in Bristol.  The victims had all been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

The attorney general’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (MFCU) investigators uncovered multiple incidents of alleged sexual misconduct involving Wright and elderly National HealthCare residents.  MFCU investigators substantiated the initial allegations, identified eyewitnesses to Wright’s conduct, and obtained an admission of misconduct from Wright. 

Wright was employed as a certified nursing assistant at NHC-Bristol from 1999 to 2007.  On January 7, Wright entered an Alford guilty plea to four counts of aggravated sexual battery, in violation of Va. Code § 18.2-67.3.  An Alford plea is a guilty plea that does not admit guilt but admits that the evidence is sufficient to prove one guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

In addition to his incarceration, Wright was ordered to pay a $10,000 fine for each of the four counts, he will be placed on probation upon release, and he will be required to register as a sex offender.  The breakdown of the term of incarceration is 20 years with five years suspended on each of the four counts, totaling 80 years with 20 suspended. 

The attorney general thanked Bristol Commonwealth’s Attorney Jerry Wolfe and the MFCU investigators for their diligent work in this case.  “When a sexual predator like James Wright chooses to prey upon the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens, it is vital that state and local authorities work together to bring him to justice” said Cuccinelli.

Kirksey called Wright’s actions “an indescribably despicable criminal act” before sentencing him.

The case is Commonwealth v. James W. Wright.  National HealthCare is also known as NHC-Bristol.

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