Thetford Man Pleads Guilty to Sexual Assault While Working at Assisted Living Facility

  • Michael Paton, is lead into Windsor Superior Court in White River Junction, Vt., on May 10, 2018., for a change of plea hearing . Paton pleaded guilty to sexually-assualting an 83-year-old woman at Valley Terrace where he worked. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/10/2018 11:34:36 PM

White River Junction — A former worker at an assisted-living facility in the Upper Valley has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a resident with dementia.

Michael Paton Jr., 23, of Thetford, entered his plea to a felony count of sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult who was incapable of consenting during a hearing on Thursday in Windsor Superior Court. A second felony count against Paton was dismissed as part of an agreement.

Paton told police and staff at Valley Terrace in Wilder in April 2017 that he had sex with an 83-year-old resident, according to court documents. The situation surfaced after one of his co-workers said they found Paton in the woman’s room. He has been incarcerated since his arrest last April when then-judge Theresa DiMauro ordered him held without bail.

In court on Thursday, Deputy Windsor County State’s Attorney Heidi Remick said the agreement calls for Paton to serve a 10- to 20-year sentence, all suspended. However, he would remain in prison until he completed sex offender programming, something that can take about two years, she said.

A tentative sentencing structure is in place, but Paton hasn’t been formally sentenced. A sentencing hearing will likely be scheduled within the next 60 days.

In the meantime, the Department of Corrections will complete a pre-sentencing investigation report.

At Valley Terrace, Paton performed duties that included taking care of residents, bathing them and helping them with dinner and daily activities, state police said previously. It isn’t clear how long he worked at the assisted-living facility.

Valley Terrace Executive Director Angela Zizza declined to comment. After the incident, Zizza had said, “We want to reassure the community that we are doing everything in our power to address this situation and to guarantee the health, safety and welfare of every resident under our care.”

Jordan Cuddemi can be reached at jcuddemi@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.




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