A disability carer who assaulted two women within an hour, causing them ongoing anxiety and distress, has been given a jail sentence of six years and seven months.
In a breach of trust labelled “truly shocking” by the prosecution, Ranulfo Torrefranca sexually assaulted two women with severe intellectual disabilities, as well as other debilitating health problems.
During the sentencing, Her Honour Judge Martine Marich addressed the perpetrator, telling him “You took advantage of each of their vulnerability in a manner which drives at the very heart of the trust that we as a community place in workers to assist our most vulnerable.”
The assaults have had lasting effects on the two victims.
”There is a serious diminution in the quality of life of these victims, not to be able to trust their carers, when their daily and intimate care depends upon professionalism and respect,” Judge Marich said.
Ranulfo Torrefranca was on probation as a carer when he sexually assaulted the two women. He was 62 at the time.
One victim was only 26 when the incident occurred, the other was 40. Both had intellectual disabilities, as well as other serious health problems.
Mr Torrefranca assaulted the first woman in his office. Despite asking the woman asking him to stop, Mr Torrefranca continued with the assault.
After the assault, Mr Torrefranca told the woman not to tell anyone what had happened.
Mr Torrefranca then went to help the second resident with her shower. During and after the shower, Mr Torrefranca sexually assaulted the second woman.
After the second woman told him to stop, he said not to tell anyone what had happened or he would lose his job.
The second victim told another carer at the home what had taken place, and she reported the incident to management, who told them to call the police, which they did.
The manager of the home rang Mr Torrefranca and told him he had to leave the facility immediately. Mr Torrefranca then tendered his resignation “effective immediately”.
During police enquiries, Mr Torrefranca said the women may have been complaining about him because he hadn’t allowed them to go across the road to the fish and chips shop.
Both women have experienced “distress and trauma” following the assaults, Judge Marich said.
The first victim wrote in a statement, “I lose my appetite and could not sleep. I do not feel safe with new team members. I can not go out for long periods of time I don’t like lots of people. I am having nightmares and very bad flashbacks. I still go to counselling. I can not talk about it. I don’t think I will ever get over it. I don’t feel safe in my own home.”
Her mother said all the trust she had built up in her daughter’s carers had been “destroyed”.
“My anger is still white hot”, she wrote. “I will never forgive.”
The second victim wrote, “I felt very angry, upset and dirty.” Months after the attack she wrote, “I feel guilty sometimes, anxious with new staff members remembering the attack.”
But she said she was “glad I spoke up, it was the right thing to do, so no one else would be hurt by him.”
Mr Torrefranca was a respected member of the Christian Philippino community, and several people wrote him positive character references.
Originally an engineer in the Philippines, Mr Torrefranca worked as a prison guard in Australia, and later as a carer.
Judge Marich took Mr Torrefranca’s lack of criminal history, guilty plea and remorse, and strong support from friends and family into account during the sentencing.
She sentenced him to six years nine months in jail, with a four-year non-parole period.