Psychiatric aide charged with sexual assaults

Visalia (California) Police have arrested a health worker for allegedly sexually assaulting two of his patients.

Investigators say 29-year old caretaker, Timothy Pohl, committed the crimes while working at the Kaweah Delta Mental Health Facility.  It is a secure facility, meaning patients do not have in and out privileges.  Investigators believe that helped the suspect take advantage of women.

“It concerns us because there is a lot of trust placed in these caretakers,” said Sgt. Amy Watkins of the Visalia Police Dept.

Police say on Monday and Tuesday of this week, a 42-year old woman and a 32-year old woman filed reports against Pohl.  They say he sexually assaulted them during treatment sessions.

“We’re looking at oral copulation, digital penetration and other charges related to him being the caretaker of these patients,” said Sgt. Watkins.

Officers arrested Pohl Tuesday evening at his home in the city of Tulare.  He had been working at the facility since April.

Kaweah Delta Mental Health responded with this statement:

“We’ve taken this allegation very seriously and have terminated the employee involved. We will continue to cooperate fully with the Visalia Police Department on this matter.”

This is the second sexual assault case we’ve had in the valley this month with tied to mental health.  In Fresno County, investigators arrested 52-year old, Pao Vue Vang.  He worked as a behavioral health clinician and is accused of raping a 27-year old woman while she was in his office for an appointment.

“To be a victim of this type of crime is unfortunate and we’d like to help them through it if we could,” said Sgt. Watkins.

Visalia Police have reason to believe Pohl has a third victim out there and possibly more.  If you have any information that can help in this case, call the department at (559) 713-4727.

Source: “Caretaker arrested for sexual assaults, CBS47 TV, August 29, 2012.

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