I-Team: Witness alleges sexual abuse at nursing home

By Jim Taricani

Another witness to horrific allegations of sexual abuse at the Hebert Nursing Home in Smithfield has come forward to the NBC 10 I-Team.

Tanya Lessard, a former certified nurse's assistant at the facility, said she saw two women in their 60s allegedly sexually molest their elderly mother on numerous occasions.

"I witnessed, seen plenty of times, that a couple of family members penetrated their mother. She's like 89 years old. A War vet. Very lovely lady," Lessard said.

Lessard filed a witness statement with the Smithfield police last week.

The I-Team recently reported there were other witnesses to the alleged behavior. The Smithfield police investigated and wanted the daughters charged, but state prosecutors declined.

"There is a lack of evidence to prosecute at this time," the attorney general's office said.

The Hebert Nursing Home said it has taken steps to protect the mother.

Lassard said she was fired from the Hebert Nursing Home because she kept complaining about the two daughters, but the nursing home told her she was fired because she kept showing up late for work.

Regarding the I-Team's investigation of the Pawtuxet Village Care and Rehabilitation Center, Dr. Michael Fine, the director of the state Department of Health, told NBC 10 exclusively that from now until March 9, there will be unannounced inspections at Pawtuxet Village.

The Health Department and the I-Team found numerous allegations of poor quality of care at the nursing home.

"We've not been overly impressed by their progress," Fine said.

Fine said his inspectors found troublesome deficiencies.

"Pain management and fall prevention and pressure ulcers, range of motion and I think in one case, weight loss," Fines said.

Fine said a final report on the Pawtuxet Village nursing home will be issued March 9. Action against the nursing home may or may not take place based on that report.

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