Nursing Home Employee Accused of Raping 98-Year-Old 'Like an Animal'

A Victorian nursing home employee accused of pinning down a 98-year-old dementia patient "like an animal" and raping her was just doing his job, his lawyer told a court today.

Henry Alexander, 35, of Mount Martha, is accused of sexually assaulting four women in their 80s and 90s at a nursing home on the Mornington Peninsula in November 2005.

He has pleaded not guilty in Victorian County Court to 10 charges, including three counts of rape relating to two of the alleged victims.

Alexander's lawyer Ron Gipp said Wednesday his client was a personal care attendant involved in the continence care of elderly residents.

"Mr. Alexander's care of these particular residents is based on the fact that what he did was reasonable ... and it was all to do with the proper hygienic care of residents who had become incontinent with feces and urine,'' Gipp said.

Alexander's former colleague, Anne Girvasi, who no longer works at the home, said on one occasion she saw him pin a 98-year-old woman to the bed with his legs and digitally penetrate her.

"She was pinned down like an animal,'' Girvasi said. "Henry Alexander is an animal and a rapist, okay? What he did was disgusting.''

Girvasi agreed with Gipp's suggestion that she did not like Alexander but denied telling people she was going to "get him'' on assault charges.

She said she did not file an incident report about Alexander's conduct because six-month old reports would pile up in the nurses' station and no action was taken.

"Nothing was ever done in that place,'' she said.

Friend and former colleague Janine Blythe said she tried to make an appointment with Susan Younger, the Director of Nursing, but Younger cancelled.

She said she then submitted an incident report to CEO Heila Brookes, which detailed Alexander's alleged "inappropriate and rough'' touching of an 87-year-old woman on Nov. 4, 2005.

"She just ripped it up - she said it wasn't done the way it should be.''

Blythe was fired from the nursing home for failing to immediately report the incident.

Police began investigating Alexander on Nov. 24, 2005 after another employee, Marilyn Pleiter, complained.

The trial before Judge John Nixon continues Thursday.