86-year-old lewdness suspect faces mental evaluation | RecordCourier.com
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86-year-old lewdness suspect faces mental evaluation

by Merrie Leininger

An 86-year-old Gardnerville man who is charged with attempted sexual assault, a class B felony and open or gross lewdness, a gross misdemeanor, will have a mental health evaluation before further court hearings.

Mirl King, previously a resident at Virginia Creek Skilled Nursing facility in Gardnerville, was conditionally referred to district court at his attorney’s request Wednesday. Terri Roeser, who was filling in for Tod Young, said she didn’t believe King understood the proceedings. Roeser wanted a mental health evaluation to be completed before any further proceedings.

Kingwas brought into court in a wheelchair Wednesday. He is in custody in the Douglas County Jail. According to court documents, he suffers from dementia and doesn’t recognize his family.

Because a district court judge can order that evaluation, Justice Jim EnEarl agreed. King will appear before Judge David Gamble Tuesday morning.

If a counselor deems King is competent, he could come back to justice court for hearings.

King is a registered felon in Nevada. According to court documents, he was convicted of molesting young boys in the early 1960s.

According to court documents, nurses witnessed King molesting two women who, because of dementia or Alzhemiers, were unable to stop him.

The facility’s director of nursing Betsy Dorrance, was out of town, but Director of Nursing Zella Jacobsen of the Barton skilled nursing facility at Lake Tahoe said King would not be allowed to return as a resident.

Jacobsen, who is a registered nurse and an attorney, said the facility is continuing its investigation into the incidents, but officials at the Nevada division of the Department of Health have said the facilty handled it well.

“Our screening procedure is extremely thorough. I spend time with the family, with the patient and talk a long time to find out anything like any sexual aggressive behavior,” she said. However, Jacobsen said neither King nor his family gave any information about King’s criminal background.

She said the administration has met to discuss what they could do better, but decided there were no policy changes they could make to their entrance interview now.

“We always talk about things in their past and most of the time we get a pretty good history, but if someone isn’t going to tell you about something, there’s not much more we can do,” Jacobsen said.

Jacobsen said the nursing home doesn’t plan on instituting criminal background checks on its patients.

“Generally, we don’t because most of our population is very old. I can see if you are talking about early child education, it would be necessary. Most of our residents are in wheelchairs or walk with walkers and, my opinion, I don’t see the pressing need,” she said.