A former health-care worker was sentenced last week for sexually abusing an 85-year-old woman in a nursing home where he was employed.

Jacob Mut Bolith was originally charged in July 2007 with first-degree felony rape, second-degree felony forcible sex abuse and class A misdemeanor lewdness. However, in a plea agreement, he pleaded guilty to forcible sex abuse, a second-degree felony, and the other two charges were dropped.

Third District Judge Robin Reese sentenced Bolith to serve a one-to-15-year sentence and ordered him to pay restitution.

Bolith's attorney, Clayton Simms, asked Reese to sentence his client for 365 days in addition to the 389 days he has already served. He asked for leniency because Bolith is a Sudanese refugee who was displaced from his home and spent time in Ethiopia and Kenya before he came to the United States. Consequently, he said, Bolith had a difficult childhood that may have led to his behavior, despite Bolith learning English and getting his certified nursing assistant license to better his life.

Simms took issue with details in a pre-sentence report. He said there was only fondling and touching and Bolith's patients misunderstood his intentions. However, Simms said his client takes full responsibility for his actions.

The victim's daughters disagreed.

"To do this to my mother ... is unconscionable," one daughter said. Her other daughter said a medical exam showed that the defendant did more than "what he admitted."

Each of the women said they understand and are sorry for the defendant's difficult circumstances, but they said those circumstances are no excuse for his behavior. They asked for the maximum penalty.

Prosecutor Jon Shuman said the 365 days the defense counsel suggested was "ludicrous."

"This is the reason we have prisons," Shuman said.

After the sentencing, the victim's husband said he wasn't happy with the plea bargain but said he understood the judge sentenced Bolith within the confines of the law. But he asked for something different in a letter he wrote to the judge.

"I suggested castration," he said.


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