DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver man was sentenced to more than a dozen years behind bars for sexually assaulting a brain-injured patient at a care facility in Englewood, and now the victim’s family wants their message heard.
Paul Bugarcic, 34, pleaded guilty to kidnapping and sexually assaulting a patient at the Cherry Hills Health Care Center. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison on Sept. 12.READ MORE: Hershey Kisses Are Colorado's Favorite Halloween Candy
The Henson family remembers their daughter and sister as a chatterbox and jokester whose bright blue eyes were quick to smile — until tragedy struck in 2011.
“Just a girl pulling her chair out from underneath her at work. She fell and hit her head,” Debbie Henson said.
Debbie Henson says her daughter Julie immediately complained about painful headaches. Surgery soon followed and the problem compounded with brain swelling, and a cyst found in her brain.
“One in a million chance of something going wrong,” Debbie said.
Julie Henson now must remain under constant care. She can’t walk, speak or communicate very well.
“She’s all in there. The poor thing is just trapped in her body,” Debbie said.
But she was making progress and her family wanted to document it. So last year they set up an inconspicuous video camera to catch those moments, but what they found instead was horrifying.
“I watched it and I went, ‘No,’ “ Debbie said.READ MORE: Red Rocks Announces Upcoming Dates For Drive-In Holiday Movies
Among the hours of video were multiple sexual assaults on their daughter by a nursing assistant that they knew and trusted.
“She couldn’t even fight back, she couldn’t say (anything),” Julie’s father said.
Police launched an investigation and arrested Bugarcic.
“If we didn’t have that camera in there to catch it he would have kept on doing it,” her father said.
Now the family is calling on all those with loved ones in care facilities to know that they have the right to set up surveillance.
“This guy doing what he did to her took the progress she had and dropped it back about a year,” Debbie said.
Now with renewed focus, they’re working on getting Julie back to the girl she once was. It’s a journey doctors say may be possible, but it’s a long road ahead.
“We are just hoping one day she will come back around,” her father said.MORE NEWS: Calls For CDOT To Be Audited Over Possible Favoritism For Out-Of-State Company
Including the 15 years in prison, Bugarcic will also spend five years on sex offender probation.