‘Total system failure’: Reactions to Sarasota CNA charged with molesting patient after years of accusations

In a shocking case of alleged misconduct, Marco Romero, a certified nursing assistant in Sarasota County, has been charged with molesting disabled and elderly patients. This comes after seven years of accusations and no charges. Families of Romero’s alleged victims are devastated, with some claiming they were not even aware of the allegations. Nursing home advocates and attorney Michael Brevda criticize the system for failing to take action sooner. The article explores the events leading up to Romero’s arrest and raises questions about the response from authorities. If you have any information regarding this case, investigator Mahsa Saeidi encourages you to reach out.

Accusations Against Marco Romero

For seven long years, Marco Romero, a certified nursing assistant, has been the subject of accusations involving inappropriate behavior towards disabled and elderly patients in assisted living facilities within Sarasota County. Shockingly, no charges were brought against him during this entire period. However, that has finally changed—Romero has now been charged with felony molestation. It is important to note that the alleged victims were entirely unaware of these accusations against Romero, adding to the gravity of the situation.

Reactions to the Molestation Charges

Many nursing home advocates are expressing their criticism and frustration at what they perceive as a significant failure by both the state and the police. Investigator Mahsa Saeidi is delving further into the response from authorities to thoroughly understand the extent of the system failure. Attorney Michael Brevda, who specializes in nursing home lawsuits, has openly stated that he believes this case represents a complete breakdown of the system.

The Arrest and Charges Against Romero

Following Romero’s arrest, the Sarasota police released his mugshot to the public, effectively shining a spotlight on his alleged crimes. According to the police, Romero is accused of inappropriately touching a patient who was unable to communicate verbally—and this was not an isolated incident. He has been charged with felony molestation. Furthermore, authorities suspect that there may be more victims, as Romero has faced allegations of molesting patients since 2016.

An Unheard Voice: Victims’ Inability to Report

Tragically, the victims of Romero’s alleged molestation were unable to report the crimes committed against them. Many of them suffer from disabilities that prevent them from speaking or communicating effectively. This lack of ability to voice their pain and suffering only served to perpetuate Romero’s actions. This is all the more heartbreaking when considering the fact that there were previous complaints made against Romero. Patients, staff, and witnesses in the assisted living facilities had reported instances of inappropriate behavior by Romero, which should have triggered immediate action to protect vulnerable individuals.

Repeated Police Response and Lack of Action

Throughout the years, both the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office and the Venice Police Department were called multiple times regarding complaints related to Romero’s actions. Yet, shockingly, no charges were filed against him even after four separate responses from the Sarasota police. These repeated reports and lack of action indicate a severe failure within the system, as countless individuals remained unprotected from Romero’s alleged misconduct.

Romero’s Defense and Excuses

During a police interrogation, audio of which has been obtained, Romero can be heard claiming his innocence and alleging bias against male accusations. He seems to suggest that accusations against men are treated differently than those against women. However, these excuses do little to change the gravity of the allegations against him, nor do they address the repeated reports and lack of action by authorities.

Lack of Accountability from DCF and Department of Health

It is disheartening to learn that the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) seems to have been involved in or made aware of each of the instances involving Romero over the years. Yet, even with this knowledge, Romero was still allowed to continue working in these facilities, putting vulnerable individuals at risk. The lack of comment or provision of documents from the DCF is concerning and raises questions regarding their role in this case. Additionally, the Department of Health conducts an initial background check for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), but it appears that this check failed to uncover Romero’s alleged misconduct.

Ongoing Investigation and Call for Tips

Investigator Mahsa Saeidi continues to pursue this case and investigate further. As part of the ongoing effort to uncover the truth and support potential victims, anyone with any information is encouraged to come forward. Tips, comments, and questions can be sent via email to Mahsa at MSaeidi@WFLA.com.

In conclusion, the accusations against Marco Romero highlight a deeply troubling situation that spans over seven years. The lack of action and accountability from both the state and the police has allowed Romero to allegedly victimize countless individuals within assisted living facilities. It is critical that this case is thoroughly investigated, and justice is served for all those affected. Nobody should have to endure such abuse, especially in a place where they are meant to receive care and support.