Home healthcare worker pleads guilty to sexually abusing 76-year-old woman in Preble County

A Preble County home healthcare worker accused of sexually abusing a 76-year-old woman with mental disabilities is pleading guilty to charges.

Brandon Velez, 24, was indicted Aug. 1 on two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count patient abuse for an incident that happened in Eaton in March 2022.

Velez took a plea deal Friday morning and pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition and patient abuse. As part of the agreement, one count of gross sexual imposition was dismissed, according to Preble County Common Pleas Court records.

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Court records show he faces up to 18 months in prison per conviction.

Velez was an employee for Empowering People, Inc. and caring for a 76-year-old woman who was “blind non-verbal and has mental disabilities” at the time of the incident, according to an Eaton Police incident report.

News Center 7 previously reached out to the company and received “no comment” on the allegations against Velez and information on his employment status.

Police said the crimes happened at a group home in a neighborhood near Eaton Avenue and North Barron Street. Officers previously told News Center 7′s I-Team that one of Velez’s alert co-workers gave them a tip that kicked off this investigation.

The co-worker said she relieved Velez on the evening of March 3, according to an incident report. When she went to check on the victim later during her shift, she found what was later determined to be evidence on top of a dresser. That’s when police were notified.

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During an investigation officers located additional evidence. Sizemore said Eaton Police used DNA evidence and testing to link Velez to the crimes.

The victim, who has “a lot of physical and mental disabilities,” is under constant care, according to Eaton Police Lieutenant David Sizemore. He also said the victim had “no way” to defend herself.

Velez remains booked in the Preble County Jail. He’s set to appear in court for a final disposition on Oct. 31.