Staffer accused of assaulting seniors

GREENFIELD — A nursing assistant working in a Greenfield nursing home sexually assaulted residents left in his care, including one with dementia, police said.

Hancock County prosecutors filed six felony charges Thursday against Austin Gough, 20, of Fountaintown, amid allegations he exposed himself to at least three senior citizens at the Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield and asked them to touch him inappropriately, according to court documents.

He now faces three felony counts of sexual battery and three felony counts of attempted sexual battery.

Police began investigating in September after a woman staying at Kindred told the center’s director that Gough exposed himself and fondled her.

Gough was employed as a certified nursing assistant at Kindred, a nursing center that aids seniors who have recently been released from the hospital as they go through rehabilitation. He started working at facility in July, and his duties included helping male and female residents change their clothes and bathe, court records state.

Each of the victims was under his supervision; he regularly oversaw care for 16 patients, police said.

After the initial report was made, Gough was suspended pending an investigation, court documents state. Kindred officials began interviewing all the facility’s residents, and two more victims reported having being assaulted by a man matching his description, police said.

Each resident told police a staff member had exposed himself to them and asked them to engage in sex acts, according to police.

The director of the center told police there was only one other male nurse’s assistant on staff and only a few male nurses. Those men do not match the description the victims provided, police said.

Gough resigned soon after the investigation began, court records state. He was interviewed by Greenfield Police Department detectives, and he said he was “in shock because he hadn’t heard anything about (the incidents),” court documents state.

But when Detective Sgt. Nichole Gilbert told Gough she thought additional victims would come forward, he nodded in agreement, court records state.

“I told Austin that sometimes an opportunity arises that wasn’t premeditated, and Austin shook his head yes,” Gilbert wrote in her police report. “When I told Austin I didn’t think he wanted to hurt anybody, he shook his head yes.”

Each of the charges Gough now faces is a Level 6 felony carrying a penalty of six months to 2½ years.

Gough’s case will be handled by Georgeanna Teipen, the county’s first deputy prosecutor dedicated to prosecuting sexual crimes against women and children, Hancock County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said.

The case has been filed in Hancock Circuit Court, and police have asked that a warrant for Gough’s arrest be issued. He had not been jailed at press time.

Officials at Kindred did not return a call for comment.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.