PD: 'Night watchman' accused of raping elderly woman at Mesa care facility

Manuel Corral.jpg
Posted at 2:35 PM, Feb 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 18:47:35-05

MESA, AZ — A man who was trusted to care for elderly patients is now accused of sexually abusing one.

Mesa police report that on Sunday, they were contacted by staff at Heritage Village, near Ellsworth and Brown roads, for a reported sexual assault.

An 85-year-old patient reported that she was raped by the "night watchman," identified as Manuel Corral, 58. The victim said that she was asleep on Friday night when Corral came into her room and put his hand over her mouth, touched her breast, and then sexually assaulted her.

The victim described the attack as being "very painful." A medical exam confirmed the woman's account of what happened, police say.

Police say Corral has been the suspect in three investigations at different adult care facilities that he was assigned to as an overnight caregiver.

Court records show Corral allegedly forced a woman to perform oral sex on him in 2012. There were also two investigations regarding Corral in 2014 when he allegedly physically abused two male patients.

Facility workers say Corral was the only caregiver on duty at the time.

Upon his arrest, Corral reportedly admitted to the recent sexual assault and the 2012 incident.

"It's sickening. I feel like they're kind of shorthanded with their staff," said Summer Christensen, whose father is a patient at Heritage Village.

"She lives literally across from my father... [Corral] has got several women in that house."

"When this happened in the Hacienda case, the difference was, the evidence was a baby," said Dana Marie Kennedy, State Director of AARP Arizona.

"And when I read the story, the evidence was the fact that she told her son and her son got her an examination. And that examination is giving us the proof that she was in fact raped."

Forensic evidence backed up the 85-year-old's story.

Mesa detectives told ABC15 there "was no physical evidence in the 2012 case ... just he said, she said."

In that case, another woman with dementia claimed Corral sexually assaulted her as well while in an assisted living facility. "It happens far more often than anybody wants to care to believe," said Kennedy.

"I can't say that I am surprised. But it is still stomach-wrenching," said Sara Ruf, with the Arizona Developmental Disabilities Planning Council.

Kennedy and Ruf both advocate on behalf of Arizona's elderly and disabled. They believe the system needs to improve. "We have got to get a registry," said Kennedy, referring to employees accused of wrongdoing.

"When [patients] do report, just like we asked them to, they need to be taken seriously and documented. Whether or not there's a criminal conviction," said Ruf, whose organization just released a special report about 'Abused and Neglected' patients.

"We need to make sure if someone is going into a room, especially a female person who is vulnerable, and it is a male, then we should have someone going into the room at the same time," said Kennedy.

At Heritage Village that was not happening - Corral was the only employee in the unit overnight. "I don't know how many pods he has been in," said Christensen.

The alleged rape has loved ones like Christensen re-thinking her parent's care. "He has dementia as well. It's scary," she said.

Now there is a new concern from detectives, relatives, and advocates, that there could be more victims.

"Someone that assaults in 2012 and then assaults again in 2020, most likely has had eight years of assaulting other victims," said Kennedy.

Heritage Village issued the following statement Tuesday afternoon:

We are deeply saddened regarding the incident of assault at our community. We are working in full cooperation with law enforcement and all governing agencies, and making every effort to restore comfort and peace of mind to our residents, families and staff. Out of respect for our resident’s privacy and HIPAA rights and to maintain the integrity of the investigation, we can only confirm that:

  • On Sunday, February 16 a resident reported an assault to a Med Tech.
  • We immediately alerted law enforcement; an arrest was made and the employee has been terminated.
  • All required background checks performed at time of hire for the former employee were clean and he holds a valid Arizona Fingerprint card from the Department of Public Safety.

Due to the ongoing and sensitive nature of the investigation, we will not be commenting further on this matter at this time to protect the resident’s privacy and the integrity of the investigative process.

Mesa police arrested Corrral on six counts of sexual assault, kidnapping, and sexual abuse.