The local nursing assistant charged with sexually abusing his patients went back to court while investigators said his list of victims is growing.
Deputies said that there are nine alleged victims in this case and they wouldn’t be surprised if that number keeps increasing.
Adeladilew Mekonen, 34, was arraigned Thursday and faces 18 new charges. Detectives arrested him last week on charges of raping and abusing two elderly women in his care.
Mekonen most recently worked at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center where the alleged abuse took place, but since his arrest, police say seven new victims have come forward, some of whom had contact with Mekonen when he worked at the West Hills Health and Rehab Center.
Deputies said officials at the hospital and rehab center are cooperating with the investigation. One of the women who said she was abused has filed a lawsuit against Providence St. Vincent Medical Center over the issue.
Several of Mekonen’s friends and relatives came to his court appearance and they said his wife, who is seven months pregnant, is devastated.
“She’s just so new,” Girmachew Tiruneh, who attends church with Mekonen, said. “She’s just so frustrated and that’s why we just came to support him, you know.”
Mekonen will be back in court on October 10 and is being held on $1,000,000 bail.
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