Court: Position of trust ‘violated’

GREENFIELD — A former nursing home assistant will never again work with seniors after admitting to assaulting two elderly residents in his care.

Austin Gough, 20, of Fountaintown, pleaded guilty to a Level 6 felony charge of battery against a disabled person Wednesday in Hancock Circuit Court.

Gough will serve his sentence locally, spending one year on home detention and 1½ years on probation after accepting a plea agreement from prosecutors.

Gough was arrested in October after several seniors he helped care for at the Kindred Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield told police he exposed himself and asked them to touch him inappropriately, according to court documents.

Gough worked at Kindred as a certified nursing assistant. The center aids seniors who have recently been released from the hospital as they go through rehabilitation. His duties included helping male and female residents change their clothes and bathe, court documents state.

Both victims were under Gough’s supervision. He regularly oversaw care for 16 patients, police said. At least one victim had dementia, court documents state.

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

The battery charge Gough pleaded to ensures he’ll never again be licensed as a nursing assistant, said Hancock County Deputy Prosecutor Georgeanna Teipen.

This was one the state’s biggest concerns, Teipen said, and prosecutors wanted to do what they could to protect other vulnerable adults.

Rob Newcomer, executive director of Kindred, issued a statement to the Daily Reporter at the time of Gough’s arrest. He said Kindred investigates all allegations related to patient well-being and reports the allegations to state and local authorities.

Gough was fired from his post when the allegations were reported, Newcomer said. The defendant told a judge Wednesday he now works in a factory.

Gough was originally charged with three felony counts of sexual battery and three felony counts of attempted sexual battery. Those charges were dismissed as part of the plea agreement.

Court Commissioner Scott Sirk, who took the bench for Hancock Circuit Court Judge Richard Culver, encouraged Gough to take his time on home detention and probation seriously to better his behavior.

“You were placed in a position of trust, which you violated,” Sirk said.

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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.