17 Aug 2010

Police call on elderly sex abuse victims to come forward

6:18 am on 17 August 2010

The sentencing of a rest home worker for indecently assaulting vulnerable residents has prompted police to call for other victims to speak up.

David Eric Neal, 55, was sentenced in the Blenheim District Court on Monday after admitting six charges of indecently assaulting five women at Redwood Rest Home.

The head of the national adult sex assault unit, Detective Senior Sergeant Neil Holden, says he believes many cases of sexual assault against the elderly are never reported.

In sentencing Neal on Monday, the judge said he had exploited the vulnerability of elderly women and their inability to resist.

Neal began working in the hospital ward of the rest home in February 2009 and for about 12 months assaulted the women, usually when he was helping to wash or dry them.

The victims were aged between 57 and 96, all with physical or mental illnesses.