New details into alleged sexual abuse at Waterfront Center

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Department of Health report outlines 62-year-old Thomas Moore’s troubled stay at a Buffalo nursing home.

The disabled level 3 sex offender arrived at the Waterfront Center in downtown Buffalo Nov. 23 from the Fishkill Correctional Facility; Moore was serving time for Robbery and Sexual Abuse in the First Degree.

A little more than a month into Moore’s stay, he was arrested by Buffalo Police for allegedly molesting a fellow resident.

According to court documents Moore entered the resident’s room, pulled off her blanket, and molested her the night of Jan. 3.

A Department of Health report states Moore had touched other female residents before the night of Jan. 3.

New York State Department of Health records indicate the following:

  • 12/9/16 Resident #1 was observed with his hand on the thigh of a female (Resident #2) in the dining room.
  • 12/18/16 Resident #1 was observed rubbing the thigh of a female (Resident #3) in the dining room.
  • 12/29/16 A female (Resident #4) reported Resident #1 entered her room and touched the bottom of her leg.
  • (Unknown date) A female (Resident #6) reported Resident #1 touched her on the lower leg but was unsure of the date.
  • (Unknown date) A female (Resident #5) reported Resident #1 entered her room and touched her private area.

MORE | View the Department of Health Report

Staff at the Waterfront Center states they were not made aware of Moore’s specific criminal history before he was admitted to the facility. After they were notified, they were not able to move to him because there was no room for him at another facility; state law requires this before a resident can be discharged.

The DOH report indicates once staff at the Waterfront Center learned of Moore’s criminal history, which involved targeting elderly women, he was monitored by staff every fifteen minutes. Records show that was eventually bumped up to one-on-one supervision.

So how then, was Moore able to allegedly sneak into a resident’s room and forcibly touch her?

It’s a question Assemblymember Sean Ryan wants the answer to.

“The Department of Corrections services reports that they told the facility of this person’s past. The facility claims they were not told of this person’s past, so there is some basic discrepancy in the facts that we need to get to the bottom of,” he said.

The Waterfront Center, a 160-bed facility, has received around 3.5 times more citations than the state average, according to the Department of Health. 

“The Department of Corrections appears to have placed this person in a nursing home filled with elderly and disabled people. (It) really defies logic that something like this could have happened,” Ryan told News 4.

The Waterfront Center sent this follow-up statement to News 4 Wednesday:

“We deeply regret the incident that occurred here on January 3, and while it is an active police matter, and our policy is not to comment on active police matters, we nonetheless feel that the circumstances of the reporting involving this incident require a more in-depth statement.

Our report to the NYS Department of Health and to the state Attorney General in response to their criminal investigation of Mr. Moore, was complete and detailed and accepted by both agencies.   As we have already stated, Mr. Moore was admitted to Waterfront based on his qualifying medical need.  Centers Health Care does not discriminate against those with a past criminal record who have been lawfully released by the appropriate state authorities unless they present a danger to other residents.  In the case of Mr. Moore, the administrator of Waterfront Center was not aware of his Level 3 sex offender status.  Their admissions department relied on the medical paperwork they received in support of Mr. Moore’s application, and which was shared with the NYS DOH and AG.  That paperwork did not indicate the reason for his incarceration and the state-required PRI likewise made no mention of his past sexual crimes.  He was therefore admitted, based solely on his medical needs.

Approximately 10 days after he was admitted, local police visited the facility and informed the administrator of Mr. Moore’s past crimes.  At that time, he was immediately placed on a special watch that required he be visually checked on several times each hour, but not less than every fifteen minutes, and an effort was begun to move him to another facility.  However, we are bound to inform any potential facilities of all pertinent information regarding a transfer, and there were no other facilities willing to accept him.  We are prohibited from discharging him without an accepting facility to accept the transfer. 

When the incident occurred, we immediately attended to the victim, called both the police and the state DOH, and contacted the victim’s family.  Mr. Moore was subsequently arrested and taken from the premises by police.  He will not be returning to Waterfront.

As a result of this incident, we have re-written our policy regarding accepting residents from the Department of Corrections.   Going forward, DOC paperwork must be confirmed and augmented independently and each potential resident’s criminal history verified through the state’s sexual offender registry by the accepting facility.  Further, we have created a centralized admissions department in our headquarters that will screen applicants prior to admission.  Furthermore, we have instructed all of our administrators to review the history of the residents in their care and where appropriate, to review and/or revise care plans that address the needs of the residents and the safety of the other employees and residents of the facility.”

Moore is being represented by the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo.

His alleged victim is being represented by Brown Chiari.

Moore is expected to return to court April 25.

News 4 will continue to follow this developing story.

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