Nursing Assistant Sentenced to 15 Years After Sexually Assaulting Brain-Injured Patient

| by Lina Batarags

A man who was caught sexually assaulting a brain-injured patient at a care facility in Englewood, Denver, has been sentenced to more than a dozen years in jail.

Paul Bugarcic pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexually assaulting Julie Henson, who was a patient at the Cherry Hills Health Care Center.

A week ago, the 34-year-old man was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Julie has been under constant care since 2011, when, as her mother Debbie explained, a girl “pull[ed] her chair out from underneath her at work. She fell and hit her head.”

According to Debbie, Julie immediately complained about painful headaches. Julie underwent surgery soon thereafter, and the problem compounded with brain swelling; a cyst was found in her brain.

“One in a million chance of something going wrong,” Debbie said.

Julie can’t walk, speak or communicate very well. The Denver Channel reports that according to the District Attorney’s Office, she was not able to communicate beyond a “thumbs up” or “peace sign.” Nonetheless, she had been making positive progress, which her family wanted to document. Thus, they set up a video camera in her room to catch these moments.

What they found in the hours of footage from Jan. 2 and Jan 7., 2014, however, was shocking: a nursing assistant was caught sexually assaulting their daughter.

“I watched it and I went, ‘No,’” Debbie said.

“She couldn’t even fight back, she couldn’t say (anything),” Julie’s father said. “If we didn’t have that camera in there to catch it he would have kept on doing it.”

Police launched an investigation and arrested Bugarcic. In addition to the 15 years he will spend in jail, the 34-year-old was also spend five years on sex offender probation.

The family is now calling on those with loved ones in care facilities to know that they have the right to set up surveillance.

Debbie said that Bugarcic’s actions have set Julie’s recovery back by about a year.

“We are just hoping one day she will come back around,” her father said.

Sources: CBS Local Denver, The Denver Channel

Photo Source: CBS Local Denver