A 52-year-old man is now behind bars after what Sarasota police are calling years of molestation dating back to 2016 – most recently in mid-June.
SARASOTA, Florida. A man faces multiple charges after molesting several seniors at a Sarasota nursing home, according to a Sarasota Police Department release.
Police said they opened an investigation into Marco Tulio Avila Romero at the end of June. During the course of the investigation, detectives said they learned that Romero worked at several nursing facilities as a certified nursing assistant in Sarasota and Sarasota County.
“I am happy that he is in prison and he was arrested. It breaks my heart that he lived so long and there are so many other victims,” said a former colleague who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.
In 2019, she and Romero worked together at ManorCare Health Services in Venice.
“He was very repulsive, that’s the best way I can describe it. It was creepy and I felt uncomfortable around him,” she said.
When asked if she had ever experienced him molesting a patient, she replied that she had.
“I went into the patient’s room after he was gone for about an hour, and he actively molested the patient. I immediately reported this to the HR department. Whenever he was gone for too long, I knew something was wrong. Normal communication with the patient took from 10 to 15 minutes, ”said the woman.
Despite her report, she says the staff did nothing. The documents show that two cases of molestation were reported at ManorCare, which were investigated by the Venice police in 2019 and 2020. Romero’s former colleague says he was fired in November 2021. His license from the Ministry of Health indicates no public complaints or disciplinary action.
“I hope more people come forward and tell their story. I hope the victims get the justice they deserve, and I hope that whenever someone makes a charge, we take it more seriously,” she said.
Police say Romero reportedly harassed several people who “couldn’t reveal” that they had been sexually harassed, the report said.
Romero was arrested on July 18 and charged with indecent and lascivious molestation in the latest case reported to the police.
Officers say the non-verbal man opened up after spending a day with his family and told his mother he felt uncomfortable and didn’t want to go back.
Police say he was able to read Romero’s name using an eye scanner and tell staff what he went through.
The affidavit alleges that Romero deliberately touched the man’s penis through his pants for five weeks. Investigators say that when officers approached Romero, he said he couldn’t lose his job and was just moving away from the window. Romero was disqualified and then fired.
Detectives believe that Romero may have been the victim of more people who didn’t have the opportunity to ask for help or assistance.
Now the police are questioning anyone who has information about Romero and any other information about the victims.
Anyone who believes they have information about the alleged abuse is asked to call Detective Cox at 941-263-6075. To remain anonymous, you can submit your Crime Stoppers review by calling 941-366-TIPS or submitting your application online here.