Sexual Elder Abuse Case Leads to Arrest of Nurses

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Last Updated on: 4th November 2021, 02:21 pm


Russel Torralba has been found and arrested in Vancouver by Canada Border Services Agency staff after a tip from U.S. marshals.  Torralba was found caring for a developmentally disabled 7-year-old boy.  Yvette-Monique Gray, the director of CBSA’s enforcement division, says Canada won’t be a safe haven for those who commit crimes and the agency is working to ensure the man will face his charges.

See the whole story and video report on CBS 8 San Diego.


As a civil litigation firm that focuses its efforts in handling elder abuse and neglect cases throughout the State of California, our firm, Berman & Riedel, LLP, sees some of the most egregious cases.  Elder abuse and neglect comes in many forms, including physical abuse, neglect in care, financial abuse … and, as our firm has seen many recent cases involving, sexual abuse of the elderly and infirm.

Our firm has recently handled several sexual abuse cases involving the elderly, many of which have been the subject of significant media attention.  One of those cases involved two male nurses that engaged in horrific sexual acts against our client, a defenseless 99-yr-old “locked-in” stroke victim.  See story: CBS 8 San Diego (Warning: Contents of Video are Graphic).

On February 17, 2011, our client’s family entered into a contract with AMS Homecare Solutions, Inc. (“AMS”) to provide in-home nursing care to her 99-year-old mother, who required 24 hour medical care to treat several debilitating problems, including a stroke which rendered her unable to speak.  Despite her medical conditions, the mother was aware of her surroundings, recognized family members, and responded to commands.

In order to protect the mother’s property and ensure her safety, her family had installed several video surveillance cameras in her home.  Two of these cameras were placed directly in her bedroom and recorded the activities of the AMS nurses responsible for her care.

These video surveillance cameras revealed that between February 27, 2011 through March 11, 2011, AMS employees negligently failed to provide the mother with the care she required.  Specifically, AMS employees slept through shifts, failed to provide breathing treatments, failed to provide tracheotomy care, did not report vomiting episodes, failed to rotate as needed, and used a physical restraint glove on her for non-medical purposes.

In addition to exposing the negligence of AMS employees, the video surveillance cameras evidenced two AMS nurses, specifically Russel Torralba and Alfredo Ruiz, engaged in repeated lewd sexual acts with one another in the presence of, and involving the person of, the mother.  At a point, Ruiz can be seen holding the mother’s hand to his groin over his clothing.

The improper conduct by AMS employees was a direct result of AMS’ negligent supervision and hiring.  Specifically, AMS failed to provide its employees with any training or oversight with respect to patient care or perform appropriate investigations to ensure its employees were properly qualified.  Even worse, AMS ratified the conduct of Torralba and Mr. Ruiz by failing to terminate their positions at AMS and even sending them back to the mother’s home after being put on notice of their lewd conduct.  Moreover, AMS concealed the fact that it was unlicensed from the mother and her family.  In bringing civil suit against AMS and their employees, Russel Torralba and Alfredo Ruiz, our firm resolved the case for $1,000,000, the full limits of the insurance that covered AMS and its employees.

In a follow-up story just recently aired by San Diego News 6, Alfredo V. Ruiz, 42, has recently been criminally arrested and now faces nine counts, five of which are felonies, including elder neglect by a caregiver and committing a lewd act on a dependent adult.  Bail for Ruiz has been set at $200,000 by San Diego Superior Court Judge Frederick Maguire, who described the conduct Ruiz is accused of committing as “nothing less than horrible.”  A felony arrest warrant has been issued for Torralba, who remains at large.  Both face 11 years in prison if convicted.

About Berman & Riedel, LLP firm managing partner attorney William M. Berman:

Attorney William M. Berman focuses his practice in the areas of catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death and elder abuse and neglect. Strictly a plaintiffs’ dedicated firm, he never represents insurance companies in the defense of claims. Mr. Berman’s firm remains staunchly committed to helping those who have suffered serious injury or loss due the negligence, intentional misconduct or wrongful acts of others.

Mr. Berman has grown his firm to what is considered one of the largest and most successful elder abuse/neglect practices within California. Through his continued successes in handling claims involving nursing home and elder abuse and neglect, Mr. Berman remains a prominent figure in advocating on behalf of this vulnerable class of citizens.

View full biography

Attorney Bill Berman

William M. Berman, Esquire
Berman & Riedel, LLP
12264 El Camino Real, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92130
ph: (858) 350-8855
fax: (858) 350-9855