Nurse gets 10 years

TROY - A former nurse’s aid at Northwoods Rehabilitation Center and Extended Care Facility in Schaghticoke was sentenced to 10 years probation Tuesday for touching the breast of a 78-year-old helpless patient.

Robert Gundersen, 52, of Middleburgh, was indicted in May 2009, for fondling the incapacitated patient between Dec. 15, 2007 and Jan. 7, 2008.

He was initially indicted on first-degree sexual abuse as well as the misdemeanors of forcible touching and third-degree sexual abuse and could have spent up to seven years in prison if convicted at trial.

He pleaded guilty to attempted sexual abuse.
"I subjected a person to sexual contact when that person was incapable of giving consent," he read from a legal document to Judge Andrew Ceresia in Rensselaer County Court.

When asked to be more specific, Gundersen said he touched her breast.

Assistant Attorney General Kathleen Boland, who prosecuted the case, told the court that the victim was "content" with the plea arrangement.

"If this went to trial it would have been a difficult situation for everyone: the jury, the defense, the prosecutor, the victim and the judge," he said after the proceeding that took about 10 minutes. "The most intelligent thing to do was to work it out this way. Guilt was established."

The AG still has an outstanding charge of third-degree sexual abuse against Gundersen from the time he worked at the Eddy Ford Nursing Home in Cohoes. In that case, it’s alleged Gundersen forcibly French-kissed a wheel-chair bound female patient with multiple sclerosis in August and September of 2008.

There will be a yet to be scheduled court appearance in Albany County."He has to register as a sex offender and he is banned from future employment in health care facilities and a trial would have been difficult for the victim," said AG Spokesman David Doyle regarding the fact Gundersen will not see any time behind bars.

He will be sentenced on the Rensselaer County charge March 10.

Source :