Ventura County Sheriff – Incident Press Release
An Investigation has revealed that a former employee of an assisted living facility assaulted two of its residents last year. Administrators at the facility also failed to report the assaults as required by law.
On October 17, 2020, Joel Gonzales was arrested in the City of Camarillo for attempted murder after an investigation revealed he had strangled a six-year-old girl, who survived the attack.
During the subsequent investigation, Ventura County Sheriff’s Major Crimes detectives learned Gonzales was employed as a caregiver at the Royal Gardens of Camarillo, an assisted care facility for the elderly. Following the assault of the young girl, detectives interviewed a facility administrator who reported that Gonzales abruptly resigned on the night of October 15, 2020. No other unusual behavior was reported.
On November 8, 2020, a concerned family member of a resident at the Royal Gardens of Camarillo contacted the Camarillo Police Department to report the resident as the victim of an assault with the intent to commit rape. The victim stated the crime occurred on the night of October 15, 2020.
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit launched a joint investigation with investigators from the State of California Department of Social Services (DSS) Community Care Licensing Division. Numerous interviews were conducted with the residents and staff members at the facility. The investigation confirmed the first assault and revealed another elderly female resident was the victim of a second sexual assault which also occurred on the night of October 15, 2020. Joel Gonzales was identified as the suspect in both crimes. At the time of this revelation, Gonzales was already in custody for the attempted murder case. Interviews of over 100 other residents living within the facility did not reveal any additional victims.
On January 6, 2021, Gonzales, was arrested for PC 220(b) – Assault with the intent to commit rape, PC 288(c)(2) – Lewd and lascivious acts on a dependent adult, and PC 209(b)(1) – Kidnapping with the intent to commit lewd and lascivious acts. Gonzales is currently being held without bail at the Pre-Trial Detention Facility in Ventura.
Investigators also learned the on-duty facility staff promptly reported both crimes to the facility’s administration; however, administrators did not report the crimes to law enforcement or adult protective services as required by law. As a result, Executive Director Lisa Cohen and Resident Care Supervisor Erica Floyd were arrested, cited and released, for misdemeanor violations involving the failure to report the crimes as mandated reporters under Welfare and Institutions Code 15630. Cohen and Floyd were immediately suspended and removed from the facility by DSS investigators. Additionally, new operational management was instituted at the facility with DSS providing additional oversight.
Anyone with information related to this investigation is encouraged to contact Detective Jamal Clark at (805) 384-4740 or Sergeant Hector Macias at (805) 384-4730. Other resources available for these types of crimes can be found through the following agencies:
County of Ventura Human Services Agency
Child/Adult Abuse Hotline: (805) 654-3200
State of California
Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division Complaint Hotline
Phone: 1-844-LET-US-NO (1-844-538-8766)
Email: [email protected]
Ventura County Ombudsman Office Elder Abuse Reporting: (805) 656-1986