A transient man is in jail accused of sexually assaulting a 70-year-old woman at Las Villas de Carlsbad Senior Living Community, an assisted living facility on Laguna Drive in Carlsbad.
Police say, Austin Miller, 25, entered the facility just before 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, went into a room and sexually assaulted the 70-year-old woman. A staff member confronted the man and he ran.
Police arrested Miller the next morning on Carlsbad Village Drive. He faces charges of elder abuse, burglary, attempted rape, sexual battery, and false imprisonment.
The facility issued a statement saying:
"At Las Villas de Carlsbad, the health and safety of our residents and associates is our top priority. While the community has strong security measures in place, we have increased the security presence at the community. We take this incident very seriously and will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement in their investigation."
In October, a similar incident happened at Balboa Nursing and Rehab in Hillcrest.
In that case, a transient allegedly sexually assaulted an 88-year-old woman. Police say DNA evidence helped track down the suspect, Lusean Arline, whose trial is scheduled for May 2020.
The victim's family filed a $50 million lawsuit against Balboa Nursing and Rehab which is still pending.
Harlan Zaback's law firm, Berman and Reidel, represents the victim's family and says he sees an unfortunate trend.
"As the population ages, we are seeing more and more people in these facilities, and as a result, these types of cases are occurring more and more often," Zaback said.
He said industry trend is for nationwide companies that run multiple facilities to take over nursing homes and assisted living facilities that were once more locally operated.
"They're basically more interested seeing how they can maximize profits and less interested in seeing how they can provide safety and well being for patients," said Zaback.
He was not talking specifically about Las Villas de Carlsbad, but rather as an industry in general.
Even so, Las Villas de Carlsbad is run by Elmcroft, based in Oregon, and according to its website, it has 90 communities over 25 states.
Derek Root, a spokesman for Elmcroft Senior Living did not respond to NBC 7's request for comment on this matter.