Crime

Manatee Glens employee charged with sexually assaulting patient

MANATEE -- A Manatee Glens technician was arrested Friday and charged with sexual battery against a patient, court records show.

Kelvin Buchanan, 50, was booked into the Manatee County jail and is being held on $100,000 bond.

On Jan. 16, Buchanan was transporting a patient from Manatee Memorial Hospital to the Manatee Glens mental health hospital in the 2000 block of 26th Avenue East in Bradenton. When they arrived at the center, Buchanan helped the woman get into her bed.

Buchanan then kissed the woman and sexually assaulted her, a court document said.

Hours later, Buchanan tried to kiss the victim again, but she was able to avoid him.

Another patient also told the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office that Buchanan asked her if he could go into her room at night, but she declined. He then pushed her into a room and kissed her on the cheek.

Both patients said Buchanan had called them as well.

In a photo lineup, both victims identified their assailant as Buchanan, according to the sheriff’s office.

Manatee Glens president Mary Ruiz said the sheriff’s office told the center of the allegations against Buchanan early last week.

“The person filing charges didn’t let us know that there was a concern,” Ruiz said, adding Buchanan was immediately suspended with pay.

But when the sheriff’s office said they had evidence that Buchanan had called the patient, he was fired, Ruiz said, explaining that “we are not allowed to contact our patients outside when they are here.”

Buchanan worked for less than one year at the center as a behavioral technician. His duties included assisting with meals, supervising patients and sometimes transporting patients.

Ruiz said she feels “very frustrated” because potential employees undergo arrest and background checks, alcohol and drug tests, and have their references checked.

But “human behavior can’t always be predicted,” she said. “We’re angry and we’re disappointed that one of our own would have done harm to the people that we’re here to protect and to serve,” Ruiz said.

Buchanan’s next court date is scheduled for March 2, court records show.

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