A NURSE who took advantage of a vulnerable, non-verbal patient with a severe cognitive disability at Tomaree Lodge has been permanently banned from providing health services to the public either in a paid job or as a volunteer.
Cameron Williamson was working at the Shoal Bay facility in 2020 as an Assistant In Nursing (AIN) when he attacked a woman in her 60s with a delayed intellectual development that meant she could only communicate using hand gestures.
The woman had been in care for most of her life, and on January 25, 2020, she was sexually abused by a man who was supposed to protect and care for her.
A Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) investigation found this month that Williamson had taken advantage of a vulnerable woman, failing to provide health services in a safe and ethical manner.
In a statement, the HCCC said he did not adhere to professional boundaries and breached the responsibilities he had to his patients.
"The Commission considers that Mr Williamson poses a risk to the health and safety of members of the public," it said.
"Accordingly, the Commission has permanently prohibited Mr Williamson from providing any health services to any member of the public."
Just before 7pm on January 25, 2020, a registered nurse at the facility, which has since closed, visited the patient's room and found her looking visibly distraught - a short time later, she saw Williamson walk into a nearby bathroom and leave while wiping his hands with a tissue.
The nurse saw Williamson, who would later admit to sexual conduct with the patient, throw the tissue in a bin.
During a police interview 10 months later, Williamson admitted that while he was in the bathroom, he allowed the patient to 'rub his penis' for five to ten minutes and then watched as she touched herself.
A Sexual Assault Investigation Kit revealed Williamson's DNA was found around the patient's privates and pyjamas.
He was charged on November 27, 2020 with one count of aggravated sexually touch another person.
In March this year, Williamson was found guilty of committing an aggravated sexual act at Newcastle District Court, sentenced to an Intensive Correction Order for one year and three months to be served in the community.
At the time, Judge Roy Ellis said it was the responsibility of the adult with normal cognitive functioning to protect those who are mentally challenged.
"The court assumes that those people who are so cognitively challenged ... do not have the wherewithal ... to make informed decisions about participating in sexual acts," he said.
"The criminality here is the breach of the responsibilities that you had and the duties that you had to her."
Williamson's CV said he was self-employed as a painter and decorator and a maintenance and handy man between 2000 and 2010.
He was employed as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) at Regis Aged Care in Port Stephens between 2007 and 2008, and between 2008 to 2010 worked at various aged care facilities.
He was employed at Tomaree Lodge between 2010 and 2020 and worked there full time at the time of the offence.
In its decision, the HCCC found that while working as an AIN, Williamson was afforded trust by the general public and the patients he worked with, and that he was expected to provide a safe environment those he provided health services too.
"Mr Williamson's admitted to an aggravated sexual act with Patient A, a vulnerable lady with a cognitive disability who is unable to speak," the findings said.
"Mr Williamson's conduct in this respect emphasise the risk he poses to inherently vulnerable members of the public and those who have a disability."
The HCCC determined he breached the Code of Conduct and that he poses a risk to the health and safety of members of the public.